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Bibi in selfmade swamp

· 4 min read

Bibi in self-made swamp

TEHRA– Israel is sinking deeper into the quagmire of the Gaza war as calls grow for ending the seven-month-long onslaught and returning the remaining captives.

Bibi in self-made swamp

Tens of thousands of people staged rallies across Israel’s major cities at the weekend demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sign a ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement. 

Protesters also called for Netanyahu’s resignation and early elections. 

They accused the premier of prolonging the war in Gaza to keep himself in power. 

“Bibi (Netanyahu), we call you to reach a ceasefire deal which secures the release of all hostages,” Danny Elgar, the brother of Israeli captive Yitzhak Elgar, said at a protest in Tel Aviv. 

“You are taking more time so you and Ben Gvir can stay in power. You are taking more time so you will stay in power. You don’t care about the 133 or 132 hostages. An operation in Rafah will cause the death of the hostages. You don’t have mandate to kill 132 citizens of Israel.”

Shulamit Ron, another protester in Tel Aviv, said, "We hope the world hears us and knows that the people of Israel are not the government of Israel. We don't agree with the policy, we don't agree with the way they behave, and we want to have a different future."

Roi Tzohar, who was also among the demonstrators, said, "The Israeli people are hostages to the right-wing government.”

Israeli media reported that protesters rallied in other cities such as al-Quds (Jerusalem), Haifa, Ra'anana, and Beersheba too. 

The protests were the latest display of the mounting domestic pressure on Netanyahu to bring back the captives. 

More than 1,100 people were killed and nearly 250 others were taken captive when Hamas launched a surprise military operation in southern Israel on October 7.

Over 100 captives were released in a swap deal in late November. 

Since then, ceasefire talks have continued without a breakthrough.  There has been neither a pause in fighting nor a release of the remaining captives; dozens of whom have lost their lives in Israeli strikes on Gaza. 

The Egyptian capital is hosting the latest round of talks. In the truce talks in Cairo with Egyptian and Qatari mediators, Hamas negotiators have maintained their stance that any agreement must end the war. 

The resistance group has also stressed that any ceasefire deal must guarantee Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaz Strip.  

The Israeli army declared war on Gaza after the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023. So far, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed over the past seven months. Many of them are women and children. 

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until “total victory” over Hamas. However, his dream has remained elusive. 

He has also threatened to launch a ground offensive in Rafah where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled the fighting in central and northern Gaza.

UN agencies and international aid groups have warned about the consequences of an imminent incursion into Gaza’s southernmost city. 

Far-right Israeli ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir have threatened to leave Netanyahu’s coalition cabinet if he agrees to a ceasefire and captive release deal that would end the war on Gaza.    

They want the Israeli army to launch a ground assault into Rafah. 

Netanyahu is walking a tightrope. On the one hand, he is facing growing domestic pressure to end the war, which shows rising cracks inside Israeli society.  On the other hand, his coalition cabinet will collapse if he decides to put a halt to the Gaza onslaught.  

Netanyahu was under the delusion that the Israeli army would be able to destroy Hamas. But after seven months, the regime not only has failed to achieve this goal but also support for the resistance group has grown across the Palestinian territories. 

Assessments by the Israeli military’s intelligence and the US intelligence community have also poured cold water on Bibi’s dream of victory over Hamas acknowledging that Israel won’t be able to destroy the movement.  

Earlier this month, former veteran US politician Dennis Ross implied in an article that a failure of talks in Egypt would work to Israel’s detriment. 

Ross said the administration of President Joe Biden should encourage Israel to announce a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza if talks in Egypt will not lead to a ceasefire deal.  
His comments shed light on the fact that Israel is not capable of bringing the Palestinian resistance to its knees through military operations.