Hadash Lawmakers accused far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of authorizing the assassination of an Islamic Jihad leader, Baha Abu al-Ata, in Gaza on Tuesday, November 12, for political advantage but, in most cases, were met by sharp criticism for their remarks from other opposition MKs.
One exception, however, was Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev who accused Netanyahu of deciding to kill the Islamic Jihad leader this week in order to make it impossible for Benny Gantz to include the Joint List in his coalition negotiations. “This action could have been taken last week or last month,” Bar-Lev told Reshet Bet radio. “The only reason Netanyahu waited until now was to make it harder for Gantz to form a government.”
And, in fact, Palestinian militant factions in Gaza predictably fired hundreds of rockets at Israel’s south and center on Tuesday in reprisal for the predawn assassination strike, casting a heavy pall on the already politically tenuous situation, to say nothing of the dead and injured of today and those still ahead of us.
“The cynicism of Netanyahu knows no limits,” MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) said. “He started this war as a political tactic. This man must be stopped immediately.”
Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) also commented, saying that “Netanyahu lost two elections in a row, and he intends to leave behind him scorched earth in a desperate attempt to remain on the job. For ten years, his main purpose in waking up every day has been to figure out ways to deepen the occupation and chase away any opportunity for peace. He did that again today.”
“Is Netanyahu truly uninterested in an escalation?” Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) asked. “Netanyahu decided to start a military campaign now, for obvious political reasons. Either to distract from his corruption or to make a unity government more likely so he can stay in his job. Netanyahu is war-mongering due to personal political interest; we must oppose this war.” MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List) made a direct link between the assassination and Israel’s evolving political reality. He said “To save his own hide – Netanyahu is doing the only thing he can do: killing, destroying, and warmongering. The bloodshed is on his head.”
In the wake of Tuesday’s sharp escalation, Hadash and Communist Party of Israel activists held a demonstration in front of Likud headquarters in Central Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening to condemn Israel’s assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata early in the morning which has resulted in intensified military activity on both sides, as well as the larger context − Israel’s 12-year-long blockade of Gaza.