Benjamin Netanyahu: Signs of a defeated leader
By: Octavia Nasr
Benjamin Netanyahu is not a dove, nor does he seek to be seen as one. He does not seek or want peace with the Palestinians. He wants security for Israel and if that means making peace with the Palestinians, so be it. But, in this case, he will make sure Palestinians are weakened enough that their presence or absence is all the same to him.
He behaves like his bulldozers that destroy, kill, maim, uproot – without flinching. He does so to demonstrate his care for his people. He blames his cruelty on the goal of keeping them safe. Many believe him and stop seeing his murderous intentions because their fear of how he describes the “enemy” outweighs their reason and even their moral standards.
If life depended on Netanyahu, there would be no hope; as U.S. lawmakers and lobbyists would continue to be blinded by the fear rhetoric reeking from Israel’s rightwing. Back in 2012 and in 2008-2009, the world was still skewed heavily in support of whatever Israel wanted to do in Gaza. The infamous line, “Israel is responding to Hamas rockets” led every news report then. Israel at the time did not allow foreign press to enter Gaza and media organizations easily accepted the orders and willingly lent their blind eye to the disastrous events.
He behaves like his bulldozers that destroy, kill, maim, uproot – without flinching
This year marked a shift in media approach to Gaza thanks to several elements that worked simultaneously:
1. Palestinian activism took an effective shape. It was unified, smart, intellectual, provocative, nonviolent and unwavering in challenging the usual Israeli propaganda machine. Activists went on talk shows, opined in social media, engaged in significant debates and won the conversation. They created a significant dent in public opinion worldwide
2. People were moved to act through demonstrations from Sanaa to Sydney, boldly taking the Palestinian side
3. Foreign media defied Israel’s warnings and reported from Gaza thus providing the truth that Netanyahu would have rather buried
4. Israel’s leftwing and liberals spoke out against the war. The demonstrations in Tel Aviv put to shame many Arab capitals that remained idle and silent
5. Palestinians did what they do best, resist and survive. Despite the heavy toll, Palestinians refused to be sidelined, suffocated and crushed
Netanyahu used a convenient excuse to attack Gaza with the aim of destroying Hamas. He destroyed everything he could, except Hamas. Beneath his dramatic threats, lies a defeated leader who has no choice but to negotiate with Hamas and the rest of the Palestinians.
Unable to guarantee Israel’s security through military means or through dialogue, he now shows his true intentions by preventing human rights organizations from entering Gaza to conduct independent investigations. The very symbol of defeat!
Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.