Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, heads the new government as ministers take their place including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, left, and Moshe Kahlon, Housing Minister, second left, as the prime minister fills cabinet posts at the last minute forming the 34th government of Israel, two months after the mid-March general elections.
NEW YORK — The extremism of the cabinet announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 6 will bring further conflict and isolation to his country, analysts told MintPress News this week.
Members of the government have previously called Palestinians “beasts” and their children “little snakes,” warned of the “cancer-like attributes” of Palestinian society, celebrated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and called for wholesale bombings of their homes and funerals.
The unprecedented ferocity of these comments has sparked wide concern among international observers, as well as Palestinians.
“The new Israeli cabinet is a sure-fire recipe for genocide and a more rapid ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” Refaat Alareer, a writer and literature professor at the Islamic University of Gaza, said.
“At least half a dozen of the cabinet members have called openly and proudly for genocide against Palestinians and/or opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he added.
The new coalition government includes Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and its Kulanu, Jewish Home, Shas and United Torah Judaism partners.
Many of their leaders in the cabinet have made violent, racist statements unparalleled even in the checkered history of Israeli political leadership.
Netanyahu himself drew wide criticism, including from President Barack Obama, by opposing Palestinian statehood and inciting against Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
“I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel,” Netanyahu said in an interview with NRG, a website owned by ultra-Zionist U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, on the eve of the election.
On March 17, election day itself, he wrote on Facebook: “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”
But these comments pale in comparison to those made by other figures in the new government.
Likud’s Moshe Ya’alon, a former military chief of staff returning as defense secretary, has praised Avraham Stern, founder and namesake of Lehi, of the “Stern Gang,” a Zionist paramilitary that massacred Palestinians, including hundreds at Deir Yassin, in ethnic cleansing operations during Israel’s founding.
In 2002, Ya’alon said: “The Palestinian threat harbors cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it’s necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy.”
If Ya’alon contemplates genocide, as his statements indicate, some of his coalition partners do not seem to think it can come fast enough.
On June 30, at the height of Israel’s military offensive in the West Bank and a week before its onslaught against the Gaza Strip, Jewish Home parliamentarian Ayelet Shaked posted a statement on Facebook.
Uri Elitzur, formerly a Netanyahu speechwriter and now deceased, had written it a dozen years earlier, but according to Shaked’s post, “It is as relevant today as it was at the time.”
Many have since read the text as a straightforward call for genocide. Elitzur wrote:
“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Writing about the funerals of two Palestinians killed in military operations against Israel, Elitzur continued:
“I assume they have put up outdoor mourning structures, and all the dignitaries of the city come to honor the mother and father who raised the devil. Those two houses should be bombed from the air, with intention to destroy and to kill. And it should be announced that we will do this from now on to every home of every martyr.”
Before Shaked removed her post, Electronic Intifada reports, it received over a thousand shares and almost 5,000 “Likes.”
Following her public endorsement of Elitzur’s transparent appeal for war crimes, Shaked became minister of justice in the new cabinet.
“A much higher soul”
Israel’s new deputy minister of defense Eli Ben Dahan
Such virulent incitement extends even to figures tasked specifically with Palestinian affairs.
Jewish Home’s Eli Ben-Dahan, previously deputy minister of religious affairs, is now deputy minister of defense with responsibility for Israel’s “civil administration.”
The body, part of the ministry of defense, oversees the administrative and regulatory aspects of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank.
Ben-Dahan had seemingly spent years establishing his credentials for the post. In August 2013, he said:
Palestinians “are beasts, they are not human”
In December of that year, he broadened the scope of his racism, saying:
“A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual”
Ben-Dahan will now oversee Palestinian infrastructure and development, the issuance of building, entry and exit permits, and innumerable other aspects of life in the West Bank.
The cabinet to which he belongs, blogger and investigative journalist Richard Silverstein told MintPress, is “the most extremist in Israeli history.”
“The new government will strengthen the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and set up further confrontation between pro-Israel forces and pro-Palestinian activists around the world,“ he said. “Expect criminalization of BDS inside Israel and efforts by the Israel lobby to do so outside Israel. Also, expect renewed efforts by the PA to bring statehood to the U.N. ”
“Someone who kills you while grinning”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks as he visits a construction site in Har Homa, east Jerusalem, Monday March 16, 2015, a day ahead of legislative elections. Netanyahu is seeking his fourth term as prime minister.
Middle East researcher and publisher Helena Cobban sees the new government as a sign of transparency.
“The cabinet choices signify mainly that Netanyahu feels he has zero need anymore — if he ever did — to try to ‘present a civilized face’ for the Zionist project,” she said.
With Israel’s policies of displacement, separation, and settlement, along with periodic military offensives, holding steady across successive governments, this one may herald few actual changes.
“No Israeli government has ever been good to Palestinians,” Refaat Alareer, of the Islamic University of Gaza, said. “The difference is between someone who kills you while grinning and someone who kills you while pretending to be sad. All Israeli leaders have blood on their hands. All Israeli leaders have built settlements and worked to harass, humiliate and push Palestinians out of their land. For Palestine it means more settlements, more laws, more land grab, a tighter noose on Gaza, and more settlers’ attacks on Palestinians.”
And its vocal extremism may simply indicate the prevailing trends in Israeli politics, Alareer added.
“I am personally not surprised that some of the cabinet members have bluntly called for genocide against Palestinians, because I know quite well that hating Palestinians and working hard to humiliate and kill them are two important things for Israeli politicians to win more votes and support. I have always said that Israeli elections are basically a contest in which Israel choose the politicians with more Palestinians blood on their hands.”
The most significant changes ahead may lie in clashes the new government is likely to inspire in both diplomatic relations and popular opinion.
“Broadly speaking, this Israeli cabinet is going to have trouble keeping support for Israel strong in many places around the world, including Europe and the formerly colonized countries,” Cobban said. “So that creates many opportunities for Palestinians to build support.”
“The key question is how the Obama administration will act, and whether it will continue ‘covering Israel’s back’ with Security Council vetoes,” Silverstein said. “The new cabinet will give further credibility to BDS and project it as one of the few movements that actually presents a formidable alternative to occupation and Israel’s other policies depriving Palestinians of land and justice.”