The current Netanyahu-led government was born in sin (Alon Ben-Meir, 15 December 2023, Online Opinion)

Netanyahu owns the breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is now spinning out of control. Over the past 14 out of 15 years, he pushed for building new, and expanding and/or legalizing illegal settlements in the West Bank. He appointed two incompetent, unfit, and blood-thirsty ministers, Itamar Ben-Gvir (National Security) and Bezalel Smotrich (Finance, also in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank), who made no secret of their disdain and outright hostility toward the Palestinians and their national aspirations.

They encourage the settlers to rampage Palestinian villages and destroy their farmland, forcing thousands to flee from their land while killing scores under the watchful eyes of Israel’s security forces, acting as a proxy for the government. Smotrich has generously provided funds to the settlers to continue with their “holy mission” and become the de facto operatives of the government and its menacing design in the West Bank. The year 2023 has, thus far, been the most violent year in the West Bank since the second Intifada in 2000, with more than 450 Palestinians killed as of this writing.

How that might prevent reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians and undermine Israel’s national security is of no concern to the right-wing Israeli extremists. They view the war against Hamas as if it were a fulfillment of their messianic dream to reclaim Israel’s biblical land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea by substantially reducing, if not ridding, the West Bank and Gaza of its Palestinian population altogether.

To buttress the Jewish presence in the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu pursued the policy of divide and conquer by weakening the Palestinian Authority and bolstering Hamas’s hold on Gaza. Netanyahu basked in the illusion that he had a good handle on Hamas and that he could maintain the status quo-the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza indefinitely-while normalizing relations with many more Arab states. For the past 14 years under Netanyahu’s leadership, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached its nadir, and in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, it has now reached a point of no return to the status quo ante.

Over the years, Netanyahu convinced himself and the public that the Palestinians represent an existential threat to Israel and only sustained brutal occupation will keep them at bay. Only a fool would subscribe to this twisted logic because every time another Palestinian is killed or a house demolished, at least one more Palestinian militant is born, whose life mission becomes revenge and retribution against the enemy that has inflicted so much pain and suffering on them and their loved ones.

To be fair to Bibi, the Likud charter call for a state from the River to the Sea. He’s just done what he was hired to do.