Last week, the Trends Journal had forecast that Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that replaced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would be “more of the same” for the country.
We reported that Bennett, who will only serve two years as prime minister under the coalition’s arrangement, has indicated that he will take a bellicose approach to Gaza. He said in an alleged interview back in 2018 that if he were the county’s defense minister, he would enact a “shoot-to-kill” policy with Gaza for those who breach the barrier wall. He was asked what he would do if those breaching the wall were children and he responded that he would kill them, too.
“They are not children—they are terrorists,” he said.
Netanyahu has stated that he will fight for a return to power and will challenge Bennett who he described as underqualified, dim-witted, and talentless.
Escalating tensions just before leaving office, Netanyahu approved a flag march in Jerusalem that was seen by Palestinians as another round of land stealing by Israeli’s.
As described by CNN:
“Thousands of far-right, ultra nationalist Jewish activists are marching through the streets, waving Israeli flags and chanting inflammatory slogans like ‘Death to Arabs,’ or ‘I hope your villages burn.’
“The annual event celebrates Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967 and the area later annexed. This is not recognized internationally, obviously. But the marchers are singing and dancing, chanting things like ‘Jerusalem is ours.’”
Bennett’s government did not stop the march and received blowback from some leaders in the coalition.
Yair Lapid, a centrist who will take over for Bennett in two years as prime minister, took to Twitter to condemn the march. He said it was “inconceivable how you can hold an Israeli flag and shout ‘Death to Arabs’ at the same time…These people are a disgrace to the nation of Israel.”
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh warned of “dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem.” Some of those marching chanted, “Death to Arabs.”
The response came in the form of arson balloons.
The New York Times wrote,
“The day of rising tensions was the first test of a new Israeli coalition government just three days into its term. It started when the government permitted a far-right Jewish march to pass through Palestinian areas of Jerusalem on Tuesday night, over the objections of Arab and leftist parties in the coalition, and despite threats from Hamas that it would retaliate.”
Israel blamed Hamas for floating balloons into the country and causing about 20 fires. Bennett once said that he would treat these balloons as though they are rockets. Israel countered the balloons with two nights of airstrikes. A top military official told other commanders to be prepared for a new fight with Hamas.
TREND FORECAST: As per the CNN report, the media tide is shifting from “Israel right or wrong,” to clearly stating that Israel’s occupation “is not recognized internationally, obviously.”
As we reported during the attacks in the 11 day Gaza War last month, according to the United Nations, Israel killed some 260 people, including 66 children and 40 women, and wounding some 2000 including 600 children and 400 women, Thus, with these vivid reports anti-Israeli sentiments have escalated to a degree that those who oppose the war torn actions are not being labeled “anti-Semites.”
Indeed, in addition to the dead and wounded civilians, Israeli bombings reportedly destroyed 1,148 housing and commercial buildings and damaged 15,000 others, forcing over 100,000 civilians whose residences were bombed out to live in United Nations-run schools and other public facilities.
And, considering Prime Minister Bennett’s pro-settlement stance and previous anti-Arab sentiments, we forecast more of the same that persisted during Benjamin Netanyahu’s term of service.
TRENDPOST: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Yamina party, found himself in a difficult position just days into his premiership. If he spoke out against the flag march that started outside the Damascus Gate and snaked through the Old City towards the Western Wall, it is said he would upset his supporters.
Netanyahu, in his final speech in front of the Knesset that was supposed to last 15 minutes but went on for over a half-hour, said Iran celebrated his loss because they “understand that starting today there will be a weak and unstable government that will align with the dictates of the international community.”
Bennett, who sees weakness as a political vulnerability, will have to live with Netanyahu in the shadows, which will continue to push him to take more Palestinian land to build settlements, i.e. real estate developments, which will in turn threaten the fragile coalition that includes the Islamic Raam party.
However, Arabs in the country have tempered their optimism about their inclusion in the new government.
“Is it a game-changer? That’s the most important question to be asked, and it’s not easy to answer because the test will be in the future,” Sammy Smooha, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Haifa told the Christian Science Monitor. “But as we’ve known Arab and Jewish politics in Israel until now, it’s a very significant change.”
Samer Barusi, a 67-year-old Palestinian who lives near the route of the flag march, told The Times that the Israeli police opened a plaza in East Jerusalem that had been sealed off during the holy month of Ramadan. He said the difference between the new government and old is “like the difference between Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola.”