Netanyahu will have to pay the price for hubris

Fifty years ago, the Israeli army was taken by surprise by the Egyptian-Syrian attack, and thousands of soldiers paid the price. It took weeks to turn the tide, but the 1973 war will go down in history as a defeat.

On 7 October 2023, Israel was once again surprised, this time by thousands of Hamas militants from Gaza, who broke down the fence encircling their territory, entering Israeli territory and committing bloody attacks that left more than a thousand dead; the Gazans also managed to kidnap several hundred hostages and bring them back to their own territory. which they brought back to their territory and which will probably be used in a future exchange of prisoners.

The common denominator between these two events has a name in classical Greek: hubris, i.e. blindness caused by an excess of power, or apparent power. Shortly before the 1973 war, General Moshe Dayan boasted that Israel had given itself the means to impose a "no war, no peace" for the next hundred years (sic). Fifty years later Benyamin Netanyahu and the thugs who surround him were convinced that the two million Gazans would accept the siege imposed on them imposed on them for over 15 years by simply launching the occasional rather primitive rockets. This time it is thousands of civilians who are paying the price, particularly in the localities that belong to the so-called “Gaza envelope”.

It has often been repeated: Gaza is a pressure cooker under which the fire of Israeli aggression burns permanently, and is undergoing a barbaric siege, in which the Egyptian authorities are participating. Sooner or later the pressure cooker will explode. “The best intelligence services in the world” (as we already saw in 1973!) never saw it coming: they too were trapped by hubris.

Hubris and corruption: because beyond the political blindness, the Netanyahu regime is also characterized by an unprecedented level of corruption. The Prime Minister, his wife and his rogue son (sent into luxury exile on the other side of the of the Atlantic at the express request of Netanyahu’s personal security), love money and luxury. They are surrounded by millionaires who shower them with gifts, in exchange, of course, for services rendered. Not to mention the astronomical budgets for the religious parties and their institutions in exchange for their unwavering political support.

And the crack up. Twice recently Israelis have been able to see and hear Netanyahu on television: he’s not the same man. The man who was considered to be the most effective in Israeli politics was a shadow of his former self, a man who was frightened. Some journalists, generally well-informed, no longer hesitate to speak in medical terms. Let’s not forget: the Prime Minister is under indictment for three corruption scandals and there is a real riskof suffering the same fate as his distant predecessor Ehud Olmert (who went to prison for corruption). If it had not been for the pressure from his wife Sara and the rogue, it seems that Netanyahu was prepared to accept a deal with the public prosecutor to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence and retire from politics.

Netanyahu knows full well that once the current war is over, the establishment of a national commission of enquiry will be the main demand of the mass movement which, before the current crisis, mobilised against his corruption. This movement has not disappeared, but for the time being it has recycled itself in taking care of the displaced people in the "Gaza envelope". Because there too, the Netanyahu state was totally absent, and it was civil society that took charge of the tens of thousands of displaced people, their material needs psychological support and children‘s education.

The civilian population of Gaza is paying a colossal price for having dared to defy Israeli colonialism. What the Israeli army has been committing for a month now belongs in the category of crimes against humanity. The State of Israel and its rulers will have to answer to the international courts, as will their accomplices, from Joe Biden to Emmanuel Macron.

Even if the rage of the people of Gaza has claimed many civilian (and therefore innocent) Israeli victims, it must be said loud and clear that they were driven to this extreme reaction by a barbaric siege, thus confirming an old lesson from history of history: the barbarity of the oppressor often rubs off on the oppressed and the oppressed and barbarizes them in turn. This is yet another crime to be blamed on of the Israeli colonial occupier.

Jerusalem, 1st November 2023

Michel Warschawski is an author and jouralist

Michel Warschawski