Leader of the Israel Resilience (Hosen L’Yisrael) party Benny Gantz yesterday published new election campaign videos on social media, including an attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for the 2005 removal of settlers from the occupied Gaza Strip.
According to Haaretz, the video in question shows how Netanyahu and other Likud members backed the Gaza withdrawal. “Israel [Yisrael] Katz forcibly evicted Jews, Tzahi Hanegbi forcibly evicted Jews, Yuval Steinitz forcibly evicted Jews, Netanyahu forcibly evicted Jews,” a caption says, while in the background the sounds of “yay, yay, and yay” is heard in a Knesset vote.
At the end of the video, a narrator says: “This isn’t the way to achieve secure peace”.
Another of the videos published yesterday “features footage of civilians running for cover as air raid sirens go off along the Gaza border”. A caption reads: “Netanyahu pays Hamas murderers $15 million every month in cash”, a reference to Qatari aid money which Israeli authorities have allowed to enter the blockaded enclave.
“In exchange, we’ve gotten hundreds of rockets targeting our residents in the south, tens of thousands of acres of torched land, hundreds of incendiary kites and balloons, tens of thousands of children in shelters”, Gantz’ video continues. “We won’t pay protection fees to Hamas. We won’t abandon the residents in the south,” it adds.
A third video “addresses the high cost of living and collapsing health system”, with Gantz promising to “establish two more hospitals in the north and south, set in motion an equal opportunity revolution in the education system, and seek to break up cartels, smash monopolies and encourage greater competition”.
Gantz has emerged as Netanyahu’s main electoral challenger ahead of Israel’s upcoming general election on 9 April. His previous campaign videos raised eyebrows in January by boasting of having bombed Gaza “back to the stone age” during Gantz’ time as Chief of Staff of the Israeli army. Earlier this month, Gantz appeared to express support for Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza, suggesting the model could be repeated elsewhere. Palestinian onlookers interpreted this as a suggestion that Gantz could dismantle Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, but these most recent videos are likely to call this into question.