'Netanyahu Must Go': Haaretz newspaper urges Israelis to resume anti-government protests, demand early elections

'There has never been a more burning need to flood the streets,' Israeli daily says in March 7 editorial

16:54 - 8/03/2024 Friday
File photo
File photo

Israeli newspaper Haaretz has called on Israelis to take to the streets to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his "irresponsible" government, holding him liable "for the greatest disaster to befall Israel since its establishment" – Oct. 7, 2023 attacks by Palestinian group Hamas.

"Five months have passed since October 7, but Netanyahu and his partners still haven't seen fit to accept responsibility," Israel's newspaper of record said in its Thursday editorial.

"Quite the contrary. He and his government have used the time since then to incite against the defense establishment in an attempt to shift the blame onto it."

Israel launched a destructive military campaign in the Gaza Strip in response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, which killed 1,200 people and abducted about 250.

Over 30,000 Palestinians have since been killed, the majority of the 2.3 million population has been displaced and many are starving amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Netanyahu has rejected international calls for a cease-fire until the total destruction of Hamas.

The daily said the Israeli army "certainly played a major role in the failure," but blamed Netanyahu for "the criminal policies of bolstering Hamas, weakening the Palestinian Authority and destroying Israel in an attempt to enact a judicial overhaul."

It said the inquiry commission report into the fatal stampede at Mount Meron in 2021, released this week, "once again revealed Netanyahu's culture of lies, negligence, flight from responsibility and capitulation to special interests at the expense of human life. These are the elements that have rotted Israel in the Netanyahu era."

The probe said Netanyahu “bears personal responsibility” for the stampede which killed 45 Jewish pilgrims.

"Netanyahu and his irresponsible government can't see human beings even from a meter away, and they don't have a drop of compassion in their hearts. His poison machine was even employed against the hostages' families, and the return of their loved ones has been portrayed as being in conflict with national security," the editorial said.

The newspaper noted that political persecution of Arab citizens of Israel, and of Jewish citizens "who call for ending the war or are affiliated with the anti-government protests," is "typical of regimes that have adopted dictatorial elements."

Haaretz argued that Netanyahu's "refusal to hold a serious discussion of postwar arrangements for the Gaza Strip and his insistence on the ridiculous goal of 'total victory' increase the 'fear that he's making decisions on the basis of his personal interests rather than the national interest.'"

"There has never been a more burning need to flood the streets, resume the anti-government protests and demand early elections. Netanyahu and his irresponsible government must go," the editorial concluded.

Before the Hamas cross-border incursion, Netanyahu's judicial overhaul plan had triggered massive protests across the nation.

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