Israel PM’s Two-Front War Against Hamas And For His Own Political Survival

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Benjamin Netanyahu is far from emotional as he wages a two-front war.


At Israel’s defense headquarters, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watched the first release of hostages held by Hamas as his expatriate family gathered in a Tel Aviv square around his leading contender for the top job, Benny Gantz.

Gantz, a former army chief and opposition leader who joined Netanyahu’s war cabinet last month, asked a TV crew on camera to leave him alone with his family. Photos published later showed individuals in the crowd embracing.

On October 7, Netanyahu, who was heavily criticized for not being able to prevent the shock of Israel, was fighting a two-front war, one against Hamas and the other for his own political survival.

Netanyahu, 74, has long maintained an image as a security hawk, tough on Iran and backed by an army that ensures Jews will never be massacred again – one of the worst events in Israel’s 75-year history. .

Israel has estranged some of Netanyahu’s cabinet ministers after saying they failed to prevent Palestinian Hamas militants from entering Gaza, killing 1,200 people, abducting 240 more and plunging the country into war.

On several occasions, at least three of his ministers were ridiculed and abused when they appeared in public, underscoring the public anger that paved the way for Hamas to carry out its attacks.

Over the weekend, the bureau released videos showing the Department of Defense’s status quo. On Sunday, Netanyahu visited Gaza. The office released photos showing him wearing a hat and jacket meeting with soldiers and commanders.

Netanyahu, known by his nickname “BB,” is fighting a battle that will further delay a 3-1/2-year-old corruption trial and put an end to the government’s expected questioning of why Israel fell under his leadership.

He could hope to save his name by cozying up to the generals, fighting, and performing hostages.

But biographer Anschel Pfeiffer says, “No matter how long Netanyahu stays in power, he will not erase his name.”

“He failed to prevent the massacre of October 7, by his own strategy, by allowing Hamas to take control, with military weapons, in Gaza and with the total public assistance of his government since October 7 attacks.

Pfeffer, author of the 2018 book “Bibi: The Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu,” said surveys conducted in recent weeks show that Israelis trust the security establishment, but not Netanyahu.

“The failure of October 7 is his legacy. Whatever success Israel has after this, it will not be attributed to him.”

Netanyahu promised to maintain the peace of Gaza indefinitely

Netanyahu has vowed to maintain security in Gaza indefinitely, with uncertainty over the fate of the territory seven weeks into Israel’s offensive before a temporary deal with Hamas and the release of hostages to free Palestinian prisoners from Israelis.

14,800 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to Gaza health officials, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu, has survived several political crises, staged several comebacks, and won’t face another election for three years if his coalition holds true.

I know him very well and he concentrates on what he is doing, in fact he is a very hardworking person and now he is running a war like a juggler, he can catch half a dozen balls in the air – said Abraham Diskin, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, they should focus only on the air.

“There’s no point in going out there and facing people who are yelling at you and hating you, so he decided to give it up,” Diskin said.

Gantz In Cabinet gives stability to Netanyahu

Thin, tall and blue-eyed, with an easy way about him, Gantz, 64, joined the Israeli war cabinet that Netanyahu formed days after the Hamas attack to unite the country in a campaign to destroy Hamas and bring back hostages.

After nearly 40 years in power, the centrist Gantz would provide a stable government that would reduce the influence of Netanyahu and his far-right Likud party’s far-right and religious coalition allies on the fringes of Israeli society.

United in war, perhaps, they are opposites in politics.

He, Netanyahu and Likud Defense Minister Yoav Galant held a joint press conference. A photo of one of the events, widely circulated on social media, showed Netanyahu alone and Gallant and Gantz standing together on the sidelines.

In a Nov. 16 poll, Netanyahu’s coalition, which won 64 seats in the November 2022 election, was found to be enough to hold power in the 120-member Knesset, compared with 45 seats today for the 70 parties led by Gantz’s National Unity Party.

The Israeli Channel 12 survey, conducted a week before Qatar announced the sanctions agreement, was conducted among 502 respondents by pollster Mano Geva and his company Midgam, and had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Gantz has little of Netanyahu’s experience or ability on the world stage, and critics say his reticence shows a lack of decisiveness and principle. Gantz describes himself as having more grit than varnish.

Gantz, who like Netanyahu is often seen as harsh on the Palestinians, remains uncommitted to the state they want, but has previously supported efforts to start peace talks with them.

Israelis have gone to the polls five times in the past five years. No single party has ever won a simple parliamentary majority, and coalitions of parties are always needed. In times of war, no one suggests holding elections.

But two weeks ago, Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist opposition, said it was time to replace Netanyahu without going to an election.

He pointed out that there will be broad support for the unity government led by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, but there is no one in Likud who will challenge Netanyahu.

“We cannot afford another election cycle next year, where we will continue to fight and explain why the other side is a disaster,” Lapid wrote on Twitter, formerly known as X.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is from a syndicated feed.)

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