Netanyahu’s Bad Faith: From Gag orders to War as Bread and Circuses

By Carlyn Meyer

In a stunning revelation published by the Jewish daily news magazine, Forward, JJ Goldberg uncovers an almost pathological new low for PM Netanyahu’s deceptive ‘bait and switch’ style of political warfare. Goldberg reports that Israeli intelligence concluded the three Israeli Yeshiva students killed by Palestinian gunmen were slain within hours of being kidnapped. Yet, Netanyahu issued a gag order that prevented government officials and journalists who were privy to the knees from reporting it.

Goldberg writes:

“The initial evidence was the recording of victim Gil-ad Shaer’s desperate cellphone call to Moked 100, Israel’s 911. When the tape reached the security services the next morning — neglected for hours by Moked 100 staff — the teen was heard whispering “They’ve kidnapped me” (“hatfu oti”) followed by shouts of “Heads down,” then gunfire, two groans, more shots, then singing in Arabic. That evening searchers found the kidnappers’ abandoned, torched Hyundai, with eight bullet holes and the boys’ DNA. There was no doubt.”

In addition, Netanyahu and others in the Israeli government knew from the beginning that the killings were carried out by a rogue Hamas-affiliated group from Hebron and was not ordered by Hamas leadership. The perpetrators eventually arrested were widely known to have taken other actions on their own in order to embarrass or discredit Hamas.

The entire narrative that Netanyahu has spun since this tragic kidnapping was first uncovered is false. Not only did the PM unconditionally charge Hamas for the kidnappings, he also set in motion weeks of house-to-house searches, deportations and over 800 arrests of Palestinians, all under the pretense of looking for the killers and the fake assumption that the three teenagers were still alive.

When non-Hamas militants launched rockets into southern Israel in response to the raids and arrests, Israel bore down harder, eventually bombing Gaza, drawing Hamas into the conflict and launching “Operation Edge”.

Pundits in both the US and Israel are fond of claiming that neither Hamas nor Israel will benefit from the current fighting, especially if Israel launches a ground war. In truth, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed or injured in service to the narrow political interests of a Prime Minister skilled at covering up his own weak leadership through dramatic displays of political and military pyrotechnics.

Netanyahu abdicated his responsibility to defuse an explosive situation. He could have done so by identifying key suspects and declaring, hard as that would be, that the three boys were murdered soon after being kidnapped. Instead of carrying out an investigation of killings by pathological extremists, Netanyahu treated the kidnapping as an act of war. Palestinian civilians are paying the price.

Carlyn Meyer, former editor of the blog Read Between the Lines writes on politics from her home in Chicago.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

TheRealNews: “Israeli Government and Press Knew Teenagers Were Dead For Weeks”

5 Responses

  1. Not to wish for a larger or bloodier clash, but it does seem that the history of these recurring low-level Israeli wars against their neighbors or occupied lands have gotten more common and one-sided since the time the Israelis stopped worrying about getting into a larger war against enemies who could seriously hit back. What I mean to say is, it’s been 1973 since the state of Israel was actually attacked in a meaningful way by Arabs. Everything since has been tit-for-tat terrorism OR Israeli aggression against a perceived threat. Once Israel feared its neighbors and was more circumspect. Now that Israel has the bomb, and the US as its poodle, and has divided or co-opted its former enemies, Israel has little to fear by starting these wars and feels it has nothing to lose or risk. I can’t help but think that lack of serious Arab deterrence has caused more violence in this region, not less. Once one side thinks it holds all the cards, what’s to stop it from doing as it pleases?

    • The original article stated that Israel arrested suspects in the killing of the Israeli students. This is incorrect. The suspects fled Hebron after the killings, news Israel was fast made aware of.

  2. If this is true (and it almost certainly is), then Netanyahu set up that #bringourboyshome campaign and paraded the distraught parents at the UN in full knowledge that it was all a political ploy of breathtaking cynicism.

  3. Apparently the majority in Israel fear that what will be done to them is exactly what they are doing to the Palestinians: slow genocide. But who is there to threaten Israel? Only their own policies and occupation, which, like the US “global war on terror”, only ends up increasing the number of people who wish to do harm. Qui bono? Not the citizens of Israel and the “Occupied Territories”. Hackneyed but true: Follow The Money.

    • You sure put the finger on the problem, Mr. Levine. Hopefully we all can find a solution before all hell starts breaking loose in the future, near and less near. By then Israel may not be the one holding all the aces and other important cards that could deter war on more than a regional level. Nuclear is a dirty and possibly final business/solution…

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