As readers of my blog will know, I am no fan of the nuclear-armed, apartheid state of Israel.
At the same time, I do recognize why many progressives around the world were admirers of the State of Israel in its early years, as its early Labour Zionist government had at least the appearance of being somewhat progressive, particularly in some aspects of its domestic policies.
Whatever appearance it did have in its early years of being a progressive state, that disappeared quite some time ago – particularly after the 1967 Six-Day War.
Over the years, the Israeli electorate has moved steadily to the right. Initially, it shifted from the centre left Labour Party to the right-wing Likud Party. It has continued its march even further to the right, culminating in the November 1, 2022 election which saw Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu win 23% of the vote and the election of members from a number of smaller parties, even further to the right than Likud, to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset,.
Benjamin Netanyahu — currently on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust – then set about trying to cobble together a coalition to achieve the bare majority of 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset needed to form a government. He achieved this by forming the most right-wing Israeli government ever to hold office.
Let me tell you about some of the smaller political parties involved to give you a taste of how far to the right these parties and their leaders really are.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, has become the government’s National Security Minister under the deal. Ben-Gvir and Orzma Yehudit promote extreme anti-Arab policies, including promoting the evictions of Palestinian residents from the occupied West Bank. Ben-Gvir himself was convicted in 2007 of incitement to racism and supporting the radical Kach party, a terrorist organization.
Ben-Gvir’s running mate, Bezalel Smotrich, is a West Bank settler leader who believes Israel should annex the occupied territory. He has now become Finance Minister as well as receiving widespread authority over West Bank settlement construction. He has already signed a decree to withhold almost $40 million in tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority.
In attempting to stitch together his ruling coalition, Netanyahu came up against a very formidable problem – an Israeli law that would not allow convicted criminals to be government ministers. Why would this be a problem you ask? Well, you see, Aryeh Deri, leader of the Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, once served a prison sentence in a bribery case and is now on probation for another conviction on tax offenses.
Netanyahu simply asked the Knesset to change the law to permit convicted criminals to sit in his cabinet. I was not shocked or amazed — nothing the Knesset does amazes me anymore — when it politely obliged passing a bill legalizing the appointment of convicted criminals as government ministers. This gave Netanyahu the ability to put the last piece of the puzzle in place and voila, he had a 64-seat majority government.
This new law is now being challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court, so the Netanyahu government is proposing to pass a bill to allow the Knesset to override the Supreme Court.
All of the above might possibly be considered a farce but for the fact that millions of Palestinians will pay the price. Many will lose their lives as the apartheid state of Israel continues to use its military in the extra-judicial execution of unarmed Palestinians such as the killing of internationally renowned Al-Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. Journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous has fully explored this case in a recent documentary, “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.”
However, even within this grey, ominous, and threatening cloud, there may be a silver lining.
My prediction is that as a result of the recent election that produced such an extreme right-wing Israeli government, the international community — including even the West — will now reduce, and then stop altogether, its support for the nuclear-armed apartheid state of Israel.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (Jan 11, 2023): 418.90ppm
One year ago (Jan 11, 2022): 417.61ppm
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