December 10, 2023

The message is clear as Israel’s war against Hamas increases, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must go, and he won’t go quietly. For more stories from The Media Line head to The Israelis have relapsed into using two terms not heard since Egypt and Syria launched an unexpected attack against Israel in October 1973, 50 years and one day before Hamas did the same: “fiasco” and “concept.”“Fiasco” refers to the inconceivable negligence of leaving the Gaza-Israel border virtually unguarded. “Concept” describes the policy of shoveling millions of dollars to Hamas via Qatar with the assumption that the extremist, violent rulers of the Gaza Strip would behave themselves. After the Yom Kippur War, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Golda Meir did not resign immediately? No. She won a postwar election and resigned only under mass public pressure reignited by demonstrations of reserve soldiers who had helped turn the disastrous beginning of the war into a military victory of sorts. Netanyahu has been Israel’s prime minister for most of the past 15 years. He made the key decisions that led to the fiasco. He promoted the policy of buying off Hamas in exchange for (false) assurances that Hamas would stay relatively quiet. Netanyahu oversaw the building of a high-tech border barrier and the subsequent transfer of most troops on the Gaza front to the West Bank. All of which happened under his watch. He’s signaling to them that it’s not his fault. It’s the fault of the “leftists,” a general term for anyone who opposes him, and the military. He’s not going anywhere. There’s a debate about whether Netanyahu should be replaced in the middle of a war. Critics warn that this would broadcast weakness to Israel’s enemies. Those in favor say his divisiveness, ineffectiveness, and strategic errors are reason enough to replace him now. Ultimately, the question of timing isn’t relevant. The only question that matters is whether, after this colossal failure, the leader known until now as “Mr. Security” will find a way to stay in office by maintaining and deepening the divisions that have kept him there so long. Mark Lavie has been covering the Middle East for major news outlets since 1972. His second book, Why Are We Still Afraid?, which follows his five-decade career and comes to a surprising conclusion, is available on Amazon!