THE RULING coalition government of Israel this week collapsed in chaos after just seven months, forcing an unprecedented fourth general election in four years.
The election, scheduled for March 23, was forced after the coalition led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was torn apart after the failure of the Israeli parliament to approve a national budget for 2020 and 2021.
The coalition was cobbled together between Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Blue and White party led by Benny Ganz ostensibly to break the deadlock over agreeing a budget that had plagued Israeli governments for years and with the promise that it would co-ordinate a response to the Covid-19 pandemic raging in Israel.
In the event, this coalition went down in flames on Tuesday night, the deadline for approving the budget, amidst recriminations and denunciations from both sides. Under the power sharing agreement that formed the basis for the right-wing coalition, Netanyahu would remain prime minister for 18 months with Ganz as defence secretary and then they would swap places, with Ganz becoming prime minister for the remaining 18 months.
When Likud reneged on its previous pledge to support the two year budget it was widely seen by Israelis as yet another manoeuvre by Netanyahu to deliberately bring down the government in the hope of forming a more pliant coalition that would pass laws protecting him from prosecution.
In February next year, Netanyahu is up before the Israeli courts on numerous charges of corruption involving bribery and fraud. This belief was expressed by Ganz who said in a statement ‘Netanyahu is taking us to elections just so he doesn’t have to show up in court’.
Netanyahu denied these accusations insisting: ‘I didn’t want elections. Likud didn’t want elections,’ adding that he predicted a ‘huge win’.
In fact both Likud and Ganz’s party are breaking apart, with former leading members of Likud breaking away to form a new party, New Hope, to fight in the election, while the Blue and White party has dissolved into competing factions, all threatening to contest the general election.
The political crisis that is tearing Israel apart reflects the massive crisis of the Zionist state, a crisis vastly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
For the past six months, thousands of Israelis have demonstrated in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and nationwide every weekend against Netanyahu and the coalition.
Netanyahu is associated with outgoing US President Trump, who declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, and urged Arab states to recognise and have political and military relations with Israel, that would create the conditions for Israel to build more settlements in Palestine.
There is no doubt that Ganz would make a more comfortable lackey for the new US President Biden to work with, and that Biden would welcome Ganz and use him to deal further blows against the Palestinians.
However it is time for Israeli workers and youth to consider what their long term future in the Middle East is, if they allow themselves to be the tools of different US presidents against the Arab people.
The Palestinians are going to step up their struggle for their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and they will see the removal of Netanyahu as a victory for their cause.
Young Israelis in particular must recognise that the Palestinians are fighting for a socialist and secular state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital where Arabs, Jews and Christians can live in peace side by side.
We urge the Israeli people to bring down Trump’s tool Netanyahu but not to allow Gantz to become Biden’s instrument for developing US imperialism’s power in the Middle East, in order to strengthen Saudi Arabia and Arab reaction against Iran.
It is time for young Israelis to break with Zionism and join hands with the Palestinians and their revolution to put an end to racism in the Middle East by fighting alongside the Palestinians for a secular state of Palestine where Jews, Arabs and Christians can flourish side by side in a very constructive peace.