Tue 28 Nov 2023 7:31 pm - Jerusalem Time
Ehud Barak: Netanyahu is causing serious harm to Israel and leading an endless war in Gaza
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that his current counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, is causing "serious damage to Israel's strategic position" and is leading a war that has no end in the Gaza Strip.
Barak warned against plunging Israel into years-long conflicts and crises with American administrations, amid risks that threaten Israel's relations with the Arab countries with which it has concluded normalization agreements.
In an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday, Barak considered that Israel is approaching a decisive crossroads in its war that it has been waging against Gaza since last October 7.
He said that Israeli forces have made significant gains in northern Gaza, but the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is far from collapsing in the southern Gaza Strip and also maintains some capabilities in the north.
Although he stressed that completing the task of dismantling Hamas's military and administrative capabilities is "critically important," he stressed that the matter will require months or more.
He criticized the lack of harmony between the political vision and military decisions, which increases the pressure on Israel as the war extends, and said that Netanyahu bears responsibility for this imbalance.
He considered that Netanyahu failed to lead the war because of his denial that victory could not be achieved without a clear plan for the next day (after the elimination of Hamas).
An unholy alliance
The former prime minister criticized Netanyahu's association with an "unholy alliance" with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, "who are obsessed with starting fires in the West Bank, and who are protecting him from falling at the present time."
But they are basically exploiting it to impose their ideology that Gaza should return to full Israeli control and responsibility.”
He said that these positions lead to the belief that Israel's security depends on full and permanent Israeli control over the Gaza Strip, "and, by the same logic, to believe that we need to control Lebanon, and after that Syria, and perhaps the entire region."
He considered that the success of this vision would involve Israel in the “Gaza quagmire” and lead to a conflict that would last for years and crises with the American administrations, amid tangible risks to Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan and to the Abraham Accords and normalization plans with Saudi Arabia.
Barak stressed that Netanyahu's government "is causing serious harm to Israel's strategic position and is leading a war that has no end," calling for an end to Netanyahu's presidency "before the consequences of his shortcomings become irreparable."
The former prime minister concluded that what is needed in the current circumstances is "an expanded national unity government without Netanyahu, and without Smotrich and Ben Gvir."