Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to power in Israel with his sixth government to be approved by the Knesset. It cements his position as the most extreme, right-wing Israeli prime minister ever. This was always to be expected, given that his father, the right-wing Zionist historian Benzion Netanyahu, was even opposed to the policies of terrorist Menachem Begin, and was against the peace agreement with Egypt that Begin signed with the late President Anwar Sadat, as well as the withdrawal from Sinai, which Zionists regard as part of the land of Israel.
Netanyahu is a Zionist ideologue to the core. He believes that the Jews have an alienable right to the land of Palestine, and that the existence of the Israeli state is linked to its absolute military superiority which should make it feared by its Arab neighbours. He adopts Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s theory that the Arabs will not accept Israel until they realise the impossibility of its defeat and elimination.
With a strategy based purely on a Zionist vision, Netanyahu aspires to expand Israel over all of historic Palestine and even cross-border into its neighbours. He planned to present a draft law to annex the West Bank and the Jordan Valley to the Knesset in July 2021, before the fall of his government. He has now promised to implement this plan. If he is able to do this, which David Ben-Gurion himself could not achieve, then he will fulfil his dream of being listed high on the list of Zionist heroes, not least as the prime minister who introduced the 2018 Nation-State Law. This law confirms the Jewish nature of the State of Israel.Under his previous governments, Jewish settlements (which remain illegal under international law) have been given a green light of sorts by the Trump administration in Washington. Trump also recognised occupied Jerusalem as the unified capital of the occupation state, and moved the US Embassy to the city; and the US has recognised Israel’s illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights. Netanyahu has also signed normalisation agreements with some Arab countries and gained huge amounts of money from this that filled the Israeli treasury and apparently paid off the budget deficit resulting from the global pandemic.
In his latest coalition government, Netanyahu has allied himself with the most extreme, racist religious parties and has yielded to their demands. One of his coalition partners, the far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, believes that the Palestinians have no right to exist. He is supported by the Minister of the Economy, Bezalel Smotrich, who also adopts an extreme Zionist ideology.
The new government headed by Netanyahu plans to support and support, expand and develop illegal settlements in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights and what Zionists call Judea and Samaria, the occupied West Bank. The prime minister said that he will fight “terrorism and extremism”, a euphemism for violating the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. He will also confront Iran’s nuclear programme; strengthen the status of occupied Jerusalem; and expand the “circle of peace”, which means more “normalisation” with compliant Arab governments.
It is clear that the Netanyahu coalition intends to solidify its apartheid regime, and declare that the occupation state stretches from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. This will confirm what we already know; that Israel has never intended to allow the realisation of the “two-state solution”, as promoted by successive US administrations and the EU. This will embarrass Israel’s allies in the West, especially the Biden administration, which has suggested more than once that it will not cooperate with extremist ministers such as Ben-Gvir. This is also the case with the EU, because of the Jewishness of the occupation state; the exclusion of the Palestinians; the right for Jews around the world to settle in all of Palestine at the expense of the Palestinians; and making Palestinian citizens of Israel — 20 per cent of the population — second-class in status without the same political rights as Jewish citizens.
Moreover, Netanyahu’s extremism puts the “normalised” Arab countries which have relations with Israel in an awkward position. With their apparent support, Netanyahu is back with a racist programme that eliminates the right of Palestine to exist, while no Arab states are ready to defend the civil, political and human rights of the Palestinians.
All of this comes at a time when the Palestinian Authority is a corrupt, bankrupt entity dependent on foreign aid to survive. To say that it is weak is a gross understatement.
Astonishingly, PA President Mahmoud Abbas still regards security coordination with the Israeli occupation authorities to be “sacred”. The Palestinian security forces have one role: to protect Israeli settlers and pursue and arrest the heroic Palestinians who resist the brutal military occupation.
Resistance operations have returned in Palestine and groups such as the Lions’ Den, Jenin Brigades and Balata Brigades are carrying out their commando operations free of any formal connections with the established factions. The Palestinians no longer have anything to fear or lose given the complete absence of any political horizon. Economic promises have gone with the wind and the Palestinian economy has hit rock bottom. What choice do the people of Palestine have but to resist the occupiers who usurp their land and prevent them from living a normal life?
There is always optimism to be found among the Palestinians; they are a people who cannot be defeated and who have surprised everyone with their persistence and ingenuity in their struggle for freedom. They believe in resistance or martyrdom. The Israelis cannot comprehend such an approach, and are afraid to put boots on the ground in the besieged Gaza Strip in case they lose too many soldiers.
The current generation of young fighters are the great-grandchildren of the Palestinians who were expelled from their land from 1948 onwards. They will not abandon their land as they continue to disprove the old Zionist saying that, “The old [Palestinians] will die and the young will forget.”
The old have mostly died, but only after handing the keys of return to the young, entrusting them with the responsibility for the legitimate return to their land. Their dignity and determination put the old men of Oslo to shame, and will lead to the liberation of their land. Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea, even though an extremist Zionist government sits in Israel and faces a weak Palestinian Authority with no real authority to speak of.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.