The wait for peace in Palestine will be long



Fig. 1. John Bolton and Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference. Office of U.S. National Security Advisor, August 20, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

David Remnick has pulled together an incredible account of opinion on what, for now, is only a war between Israel and Hamas, in Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. It rambles, but only because there is so much ground to cover:

Benzion [Netanyahu, Binyamin’s father] was an acolyte of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the branch of right-wing Zionism known as Revisionism (what was being revised was a Zionist agenda deemed insufficiently militant), and it had been Jabotinsky who foresaw disaster befalling the Jews of Europe, which, in 1938, he likened to a “volcano which will soon begin to spew forth its fires of destruction.” In the Revisionist view, the founding of Israel came, culpably, too late—too late for six million Jews. Like Jabotinsky, Benzion believed that Ben-Gurion and other mainstream Labor Zionists had been much too accommodating of the British, who ruled Mandate-era Palestine, and too willing to negotiate with the Arabs who lived there. “A nice end they are preparing for us,” Benzion wrote in a Revisionist publication. “That end is an Arab state in the land of Israel.” His view of the enemy did not admit much humanity. “The tendency to conflict is in the essence of the Arab,” he told a reporter in 2009. “The goal of the Arabs of Israel is destruction. They do not deny that they want to destroy us.”[1]

It’s full-on fascism in Israel now, not that that should terribly surprising. Apparently, this opinion is typical:[2]

Ben Caspit, the author of a biography critical of Netanyahu, recently posted that he felt no compunction about concentrating on the home front [in Israel]. “Why should we turn our attention [to Gaza]?” he wrote. “They’ve earned that hell fairly, and I don’t have a milligram of empathy.”[3]

Remember Ben Caspit the next time a Zionist chides you about “collective guilt.”

Mustafa Barghouti, an independent politician in the West Bank, told me he feels “sad for every person killed, Israeli or Palestinian,” but insisted that the Western world was “talking only about Israelis,” and rarely Palestinians. “Hamas is the result of the occupation. They say Israel has a right to defend itself. Don’t Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?” . . .

It wasn’t just the Tel Aviv left that had come to view [Binyamin] Netanyahu as a threat to the state. Even old allies on the right could no longer ignore the spectacle of his narcissism and self-dealing. Michael Oren, a former member of the Knesset and Ambassador to the U.S. under Netanyahu, was one of many who trotted out the apocryphal remark of Louis XIV, “L’état, c’est moi”—the state is me—to characterize the Prime Minister’s attitude. Netanyahu, Oren told me, “seems unable to distinguish between personal and political interests.” Ami Ayalon, the former head of Shin Bet, the country’s internal security service, described Netanyahu to me as “a person who will sell out everyone and everything in order to stay in power.” Moshe Ya’alon, the defense minister from 2013 to 2016, told me that Netanyahu’s ideology is now “personal political survival,” adding that his coalition partners “don’t represent the vast majority of the Israeli people” and are “so messianic that they believe in Jewish supremacy—‘Mein Kampf’ in the opposite direction. They’ve taken Netanyahu hostage.” . . .

The longer the war goes on—and, according to top military analysts, it is not going nearly as well or as quickly as the I.D.F. had hoped—the more time Netanyahu will have to rebuild his base and undermine potential challengers. “Netanyahu has an interest in never finishing this stage of war,” Nahum Barnea said. The Prime Minister’s announced “prerequisites for peace,” certainly, do not suggest he is looking for an off-ramp: “Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarized, and Palestinian society must be deradicalized.” Yet Hamas has always been a product as well as a purveyor of brutality, and the Prime Minister hardly needs to be instructed in the gap between his political interests and the larger realities. Recounting a previous crisis in his memoir, he took pains to edify his readers on the subject. A full-blown war with Hamas, he wrote, would be a “hollow” spectacle with no satisfying end. “The Hamas leaders would come out from their holes and declare victory among the ruins.”[4]

The bottom line here is that if you’re hoping for peace, you might be waiting a while.

David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,


Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[5] fair use.

David Cohen, “Israel’s president says expelling Palestinians not the plan,” Politico, January 7, 2024,

Wafaa Shurafa, Jack Jeffery, Bassem Mroue, “Israeli strike kills an elite Hezbollah commander in the latest escalation linked to the war in Gaza,” Associated Press, January 8, 2024,

Julia Ioffe, “‘Blood Libel?’: On the Question of Genocide in Gaza,” Puck, January 9, 2024,

Nahal Toosi, “The US Is Dealing With an Israeli Leader Who’s Losing Control,” Politico, January 9, 2024,

Mark Leon Goldberg, “Why Israel Can’t Just Wave Away International Justice Charges,” New Republic, January 10, 2024,

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, “ADL Officially Admits It Counts Pro-Palestine Activism as Antisemitic,” New Republic, January 10, 2024,

Jess Bravin, “South Africa Accuses Israel of Genocide in U.N. Court,” Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024,

Ryan Grim, “South Africa Just Made Its Case at The Hague. What’s Next?” Intercept, January 11, 2024,

Barbara Moens, Jacopo Barigazzi, and Eddy Wax, “South Africa’s genocide case against Israel lays bare Europe’s feeble power,” Politico, January 11, 2024,

Claire Parker and Emily Rauhala to Today’s Worldview list, “What to know about the genocide case against Israel at the ICJ,” Washington Post, January 11, 2024,

Yves Smith, “Israel Capitulates at the Start of International Court of Justice Genocide Hearing,” Naked Capitalism, January 11, 2024,

James Shotter, “Israel calls South Africa’s allegations of genocide in Gaza ‘profoundly distorted,’” Financial Times, January 12, 2024,

Najib Jobain, Samy Magdy, and Bassem Mroue, “A defiant Netanyahu says no one can halt Israel’s war to crush Hamas, including the world court,” Associated Press, January 13, 2024,

David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,


Fig. 1. “Sabra & Shatila Massacre 1982 Memorial in Sabra, South Beirut,” photograph by Bertramz, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,

United States


Please note that Yemen now has its own page. Relevant articles under the United States have been moved.

Corresponding pages for Iran and Saudi Arabia have not yet been created.

  1. [1]David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,
  2. [2]David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,
  3. [3]David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,
  4. [4]David Remnick, “The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition,” New Yorker, January 14, 2024,
  5. [5]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018,

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