Alwaght- Waves of Palestinian resistance operations that have turned the Israeli settlements into slaughterhouses of the settlers are throwing hardline cabinet of Netanyahu into a state of bewilderment, to an extent that now tightened security atmosphere is triggering further protests against the cabinet for its incapability to confront the Palestinian operations.
The growing discontentment with the government performance comes as far-right government has shown the biggest responsiveness with the demands of the settlers, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during about 10 months of his government's life has given a leeway to such hardliners as National Security Minister Itmar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to follow their controversial plans including new settlement construction and displacement of the Palestinians in order to fully eliminate the security concerns of the settlers. The plan to arm the settlers and the repeated storming of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque by Ben-Gvir and extremist Zionists and the increase in excavations under the holy Muslim site with the aim of Judaizing this holy place are all aimed at ensuring the security of the settlers who are at the forefront of the conflict with the resistance groups.
But all these measures have delivered the reverse so far, and hundreds of operations since the beginning of this year by the Palestinian youths that killed 35 Israelis suggest that the Israeli settlements are no longer secure, something stirring serious Israeli concerns. On Tuesday, the heads of the settlements held a protest rally just outside Netanyahu's house in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and in a statement addressing the PM, they described the situation as intolerable, and added that the attacks against the settlements have increased and the current concept of security has failed and must be overhauled quickly.
These protests followed two operations by Palestinian youths on Monday in the two towns of Hawara and Al-Khalil, killing 3 Israelis and unleashing a wave of terror to the Israelis. Settlers with shorter distance from the Palestinians are more exposed to Palestinian operations, and reports by Israeli media suggest that fear is encompassing them.
Resistance groups have repeatedly threatened that if the Israeli crimes continue, they will adopt ‘eye-for-eye’ strategy and any Israeli action against the West Bank will draw firm responses.
Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas Political Bureau, emphasized that the Palestinian nation will counter the siege and settlement construction with resistance, and that there is no political and security solution in the West Bank unless the occupiers leave the Palestinian land. He added that the so-called political solution has failed and the documents of the Oslo Accords have been shattered, and “our people no longer move in this direction.”
Also, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the deputy prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, said that increasing Israeli violence against the Palestinians, their lands, and their sanctities brings peace and stability to nobody.
“Security in undividable. Either peace and security for all or no peace and security for anyone,” he said.
The experience of recent months has shown that the more the Israeli crimes in the West Bank grow, the more the settlers will suffer the same cost, and the strengthening of the resistance groups in Jenin, Hawara and Al-Khalil indicates that the resistance has taken root throughout the Palestinian territories and the Israeli military increasing sinks in despair against them. The insistence of Netanyahu and his friends to build new settlements, which have been declared illegal even by the international community, will add to the friction between the Palestinians and Tel Aviv, and the settlers will pay the price for his ambitions.
Tensions among Israeli officials
The tense atmosphere of the settlements has stirred heightened differences among the Israeli security authorities. Israeli media reported that Netanyahu in a cabinet session on Thursday tasked Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with implementing a set of cabinet-approved measures to fight anti-Israeli attackers and their backers.
In the session, Ben-Gvir repeated his demand for setting up more checkpoints in the West Bank roads, reactivating Palestinian arrests, and restoring assassination policy in the West Bank. Responding, military commanders told him that these measure have been in place for years in the West Bank. Gallant told Ben-Gvir that these measures increase risks of clashes and tensions and “we should take this point into consideration. An event can bring forth other events.”
Ben-Gvir attacked Gallant after the latter's remarks, saying: “Our people are killed and you talk about risks of clashes and tensions. We have to agree on practical actions [against the Palestinians]. Additionally, he called for more strict conditions of the Palestinian prisoners in response to the operations in the West Bank, but this request was declined by Netanyahu.
For implementing his security scenarios in the West Bank, Ben-Gvir needs the army support, but the army officials do not find it advisable to engage in clashes with the resistance groups. Earlier, the army forces blocked entry of settlers to Hawara to avert clashes with the Palestinians. The army measure led to clashes with the extremists.
Estimates show that due to the wave of protests and political and social divisions in the occupied territories, opening another front will put the army in a tight spot. In recent months, thousands of reservists, including reserve pilots, have defied cabinet orders in response to the approval of judicial reforms. Their insubordination caused concerns and triggered warnings about military weakness.
In such a state of instability, the army intervention can bring about irreparable consequences, since the resistance groups are at peak of readiness, and forming command centers, they have threatened that in case of new clashes, ten West Bank and Gaza and even Hezbollah will stand shoulder to shoulder against Tel Aviv.
Presently, only radical settlers are aligned with Netanyahu government's policies, and if their security is jeopardized, the cabinet can lose the small number of its supporters, and arranging protests of the heads of the settlements confirms this reality.
Losing the settlers’ support while the military and former officials are opposed to the cabinet policies can topple the government and raise the chances of opposition leaders, who are standing in expectation of the cabinet collapse, to re-assume the power.
The fire Ben-Gvir and Smotrich have inflamed in the West Bank now burns the settlers. Actually, with the power gain of the resistance groups and stepping up of the istishhadi (suicide) operations, occupied territories will be more insecure to the Israelis than ever.