Tachles: A modern Hebrew word of Yiddish origin that means “to the point.”
A few hours after I wrote the article “New Agreements Unlikely to Create Anything New,” Israeli settlers rioted in the Palestinian village of Huwara. An act of revenge by Jewish settlers as a result of the terrorist attack a few hours earlier in the same Palestinian village.
I also wrote yesterday that “all sides understand that calm is urgently needed. The problem is that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has no control over its own people.” But that wasn’t the whole picture. We have a problem, too. Israel’s government probably does not have absolute control over its people, either. What happened in Samaria last night signals the new situation in the country. Chaos. Arab Member of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi has compared the Jewish outbreak of violence in Huwara to Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany. Abdallah Zarzur, of the Islamic Movement, also tweeted: “After all this, what is left for the Palestinians? That’s what the Nazis did to the Jews on Kristallnacht in 1938 and before the extermination in World War II. A criminal government! A criminal occupation!” Others described the outbreak of violence by the Jewish settlers as a pogrom against Palestinians. The outburst of violence by the Jewish settlers is exactly what Israel’s enemies lacked to compare Jews to Nazis. One difference is that the Israeli soldiers rescued Palestinian families from the burning houses. The Nazis didn’t do that for the Jews back then.
ליל בדולח בחיווארה
Kristallnacht in Huwara
ليل البلور في حوارة pic.twitter.com/Bb9Np1jsv9
— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) February 26, 2023
The Jewish outburst of violence must not be justified, but it does signal the Jewish settlers’ frustration with their own coalition. Jews are being murdered and the government and army are doing nothing. This is a red flag for Benjamin Netanyahu, who urgently needs a rethink to keep his coalition alive. “We’ve lost the deterrent,” claim the settlers. “The Arabs are not afraid because they know that the hands of the Israeli security forces are tied. If the army doesn’t ensure peace and security, then we’ll do it.”
Terrorist attacks, rockets from Gaza and the controversial judicial reform. And now images of a burning Palestinian village. The feeling is stronger than ever that the current national-religious government is leading or could take decision that will lead to anarchy. That’s what happens when it’s not clear who’s in charge. Netanyahu’s new government has been in power for less than 10 weeks, and despite differences of opinion on many issues, there is agreement on one thing. All coalition allies understand that the country is falling apart. It began with the decision to finally reform the legal system. Legal reform or legal coup, it depends who you ask. The climate of the anti-government protests is creating a deep rift between the two sectors of Israeli society.
And things are only expected to escalate as we approach the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, during which Israel’s enemies will try everything to test Israel’s right-wing national coalition.
So far, the coalition has criticized itself as not being right-wing enough. Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir made it clear yesterday: “Enough is enough! The time has come to stop the containment policy. It’s time to resume the targeted killings and eliminate the terror leaders. I understand the pain, but we must not take the law into our own hands. The Israeli government and IDF, not the citizens, must lead the fight against terrorism.” For right-wing ministers and key figures like Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, their government cannot continue to function as it is. If right-wing politics does not prevail as promised, then it has no right to exist.
Netanyahu is in a quandary and must decide how to handle his full-right coalition government and implement right-wing policies. As it stands now, this is becoming more and more impossible with each passing week. Ben-Gvir was not invited to a recent security cabinet meeting, and Netanyahu is not calling for new cabinet meetings. The right-wing coalition is split between the far-right and the moderate-right in the Likud party. But to implement their respective policies, both must cooperate.
If Netanyahu really wants to fully implement his judicial reforms, then he must find a way to please his right-wing settler ministers, Ben-Gvir and Smotrich. The army must act more harshly against the Palestinians, who largely sympathize with anti-Israel terror. According to both ministers, Arabs only understand violence and therefore Israel must respond with more violence. But Netanyahu and Israel’s security establishment see things differently.
It is imperative that Netanyahu establish calm, because he is currently facing too many fronts – rising terror just before Ramadan, increasing rocket attacks, growing protests against his judicial reforms, disunity in his coalition, and chaos in the security cabinet. If his political allies don’t pull themselves together, then everything the coalition partners fantasized about will perish.
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