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Why Netanyahu's departure will mean nothing

Why Netanyahu's departure will mean nothing
From Al Jazeera - September 17, 2017

It's been said those who fail to recall the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Built of help and hope, this expression is as familiar as it is simple: knowledge is the gateway to informed transformation and with it, educated change is, necessarily, sure to follow.

Breaking news: Do not kid yourself. When the chorus of selective history finds its path to be, of necessity, narrow and unbending, it's but a convenient echo of certain repetition.

Indeed, time and time again, history does repeat itself. When it comes to Israel, we are, if nothing else, naive, if not slow, learners to believe that enlightened change is either inevitable or just around the corner. It's not, at least not of its own volition.

If reports are to be believed, the reign of Benjamin Netanyahu is now in its final stretch as prosecutors and purchased politicians, alike, line up to see that "justice" be done, and done with ease and smooth political transition. As always, the aim is to remove the bombast, yet, ensure the same old supremacist tune.

Seemingly, a power with many hats, forever - for almost a decade - Netanyahu, as prime minister, has been a storm cloud that has sucked the sheen from the sun wherever his path has taken him. From south Lebanon to the Golan, to Rafah, to the halls of the US Congress, his has been a reckless belligerent trek built of nationalist venture and little else.

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Never one to grin in a vacuum, he's long been the ugly, but very real, face of Israel in its march to expand occupation and recast and darken opposition, be they home-grown dissidents or crafted "belligerents" from elsewhere.

From the mourn of Deir Yassin, to the wail of Sabra-Shatila, to the level of Jenin,to the final breath of Palestinian infants denied energy to incubate in Gaza, historically each and every act of wanton cruelty has been packaged by Israel as a necessary defence to the willful guile of others. In Israel, no politician can weave their way up the path of power and survive without the hymn of perpetual victimisation. It's become very much the traditional tribal chant.

Indeed, no Israeli leader has worked it better, and been more adept at palpable deflection, than has Netanyahu who, for decades, has found an enemy lurking around each and every corner, even when no such corner exists.

Make no mistake about it: While Israel claims self-defence as a necessity from the ever-present looming hate of others, if there is hatred to be had, it is very much a convenient sale of Israel's own liking and design. To be sure, the mentality of siege dictates that decency knows no reach and avarice no limits. On both fronts, Israel has excelled.

For 70 years, Israeli tropes, whether addressed in Tel Aviv, Brooklyn or Toronto, have mastered the art of self-deception. As almost an obstinate rite of passage, generations of insular, perhaps insulated, Israelis have been birthed on myth. No, not the Holocaust, for it was very real, but the offer that no speech is too vile, no detention too long, no act too extreme once swept up into a sham talismanic call of survival.

The hate that is Israel is not, at all, limited to the handful of political, military or settlement leaders that have flourished in a society whose mantra is "do not ask, do not tell". Like a steady unbroken drumbeat, supremacist odium has, by design, worked its way into all segments of an Israeli culture that sees "kind" as "weak", "just" as "soft", and "equality" as something much less than "equal".

For generations of Israeli leaders, the message, although at times massaged, has essentially remained very much unremitting and uniform in its hymn.

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Ultimately, other than the spelling of their names, be it Begin, the wanted terrorist of the '30s and '40s, Sharon, the war criminal covered with the blood of women and children in Beirut and, later, again, in Jenin, or Netanyahu, the proud architect of multiple slaughters in Gaza, deceitful deflection has remained a constant in the halls of Israeli power.

Absent a dramatic shift, do not expect that to change, any time soon, should the current prime minister ultimately find his way to his much-deserved place in the prisoner's dock.

Indeed, waiting in the wings to assume the grand lie are, yet, other scions of a shaded story that began with the romanticised myth of Kibbutzim which, almost magically, blossomed from the sand and evolved its way to the uneasy canard which, today, wraps Israel in the tattered whole cloth of democracy.

Among those surely awaiting their place in the run of ruin is Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Recently described as a classic fascist in the tradition of Mussolini, Shaked, of the Jewish Home Party, has long been a critic of individual rights or equality under Israeli law. To her, justice is little more than a legislative doorway to Zionist superiority, with travel limited to only the state's Jewish majority.

Not at all one to run from her very public and proud supremacist wrap, more than once, Shaked has announced the need for a "moral and political revolution"that would smother universal individual rights under the rule of national and Zionist values.

Having long learned that, in Israel, the pathway to political power is seeded with exploitation and pain of non-Jews, Shaked's racist raves have run the hateful course from attacks on "infiltrators from Africa" to her well-known declaration that Palestine must be destroyed because "the entire Palestinian people is the enemy,including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure."

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