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After Netanyahu, There Is Nothing New in Israel’s Policy!

A month after the fighting between Israel and Hamas stopped, the situation on the ground shows that little has changed. Once again, the American media ignores Israel’s encroachment on and annexation of Palestinian lands. Attention has focused on the defeat of Netanyahu and the new Israeli government. Although the new leadership’s policies toward the Palestinians are no different from its predecessors, the Israeli propaganda industry is trying to promote this leadership as pragmatic. But as a prominent Israeli peace activist pointed out, American attitudes toward Israel “should be framed within the framework of Israeli policies and not Israeli politicians, and as long as these policies continue, there is no reason to reduce the judgment on Israel just because of the fact that Israel is not led by Netanyahu.” As for the policies, nothing has changed. Shortly after being sworn in, the new government issued a permit to extremists allowing them to march through Arab neighborhoods, chanting “death to Arabs” and “your villages will be burned,” in addition to other inflammatory slogans. Israeli police arrested Arab opponents of the protests. In an unpromising development, the Israeli police set up roadblocks and a new checkpoint around the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The Israeli police also set up guard posts near Damascus Gate, which are often used to harass and beat Palestinian youth who gather in the square. With each passing day, the intentions of the Israelis become clear: Repeat what they had done in the city of Hebron in the city of Jerusalem. The Israeli press also reported that the police used a violent method to disperse gatherings even when there was no need to do so. In the rest of the occupied territories, the process of annexation continues with land grabs. In Hebron, the Israelis seized lands adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque to complete their seizure of this site under the protection of UNESCO. The area south of Hebron, which is fertile lands owned by Palestinians, was subjected to a campaign of raids by settlers, bulldozing operations, and seizure. The Israeli goal is to link up the settlements around Hebron, cutting them off from the rest of the West Bank. It also does not bode well for the fact that settlers set up a site known as Evyatar on Jabal Sabih, south of Nablus. It is true that the army declared the site blatantly illegal, but 60 homes have already been built on the site. Soldiers assisted the settlers in transporting building materials to the hill. The government provided the site with water, electricity, and roads. The Palestinians are protesting this blatant land grab. Meanwhile, in Gaza, despite Hamas’ hollow boasts of victory, tens of thousands of Palestinians are still homeless, many others without water or electricity, and the entire population has no hope for the future. the new Israeli government is seeking to renew a law banning Palestinian family unification; that is, depriving Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel and residents of Jerusalem from bringing their spouses from the West Bank and Gaza or from abroad to live with them, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz asserting that the passage of this law is “necessary to preserve the security of Israel and its Jewish democratic nature.” The conclusion is that Netanyahu may have left the government but there is a continuation of his advance on the Palestinian territories. Nothing has changed for the Palestinians. –James Zogby (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)