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Robert Inlakesh

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank.He has Written frequently for publications such as Mint Press, Al-Masdar News, Mondoweiss, MEMO and elsewhere. He specializes in analysis of the Middle-East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He is currently working with PressTV.
Robert Inlakesh

In order to get re-elected on the 17th of September, current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is not only trying to cause division amongst opposing Parties but also seeks to scare the Israeli population into submission by creating conflict with neighboring countries.

Within the past few weeks, Israel has struck targets in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Some of the illegal strikes have sparked regional outrage, with many now fearing the prospect of a new Middle-East war.

It is expected that in the event of a new Israeli waged war, the bulk of Western media outlets will essentially report as if they were Israeli public relations firms. So, in order to combat the Israeli narrative to be, it is important to align the entire necessary context, prior to any possible large-scale escalation.

It is also important to understand whether Netanyahu will get re-elected, and if yes, what will be his modus operandi to stay in power.

Netanyahu’s plan to destroy his opposition parties in the upcoming elections.

Unlike, what happened prior to the Israeli elections in May, the defining issue which will determine Israel’s new Prime Minister will not be, what is perceived in Israel, as a battle between the Right and Left wing, but between religious and secular sections.

Benjamin Netanyahu is still using the similar rhetoric as before, when he talks about the mythical Israeli left, but this is not his most prioritized strategy. During Netanyahu’s election campaign earlier this year, one of the primary focuses of the Israeli media and opposing parties was Netanyahu’s corruption scandal. Keeping the present situation in mind, Netanyahu knew that leaving his opponents with the same stick to beat him with, this time around, would put him at a disadvantage, hence, he focused on exploiting the social and religious divisions in the society and amongst the rivaling parties.

Bibi has attempted to transform his image amongst religious Jews in Israel, spending much time campaigning in areas where religion is the key issue. He has also made moves at the same time to try and win over the secular vote, using the first openly Gay right-Wing Knesset member, Amir Ohana, as an example of where he stands.

There are also ongoing tensions in Israel, regarding gender segregation in public places, which Netanyahu has been working to create debates around. He knows that these types of issues, give rise to clashes and can potentially weaken the parties internally.

Netanyahu is also launching another attack upon Israeli journalists and has quite ironically – due to his opposition of other peaceful boycotts – called for a boycott of Israeli channel 12; labelling it as having aired anti-Semitic content. This came following the channel’s decision to air a show co-produced with HBO, called ‘Our Boys’, which features the story of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and murdered by Israeli extremists.

The current Israeli Prime Minister has, as usual, also taken to racism in order to win over voters, raging against Palestinians with Israeli passports – or as Israel calls them ‘Israeli Arabs’- something he has a long history of doing. It also should be noted that according to Netanyahu Otzma Yehudit, the far-right racist party, will be included, in a coalition if it wins seats in the Knesset.

Kahol Lavan (Blue and White), the main Israeli opposition party to Netanyahu’s Likud, has also seen a decline in support for its leader Benny Gantz, since the May elections; largely due to what analysts have described as a lack-luster campaign. This means that Netanyahu’s Likud has a upper hand in this regard.

An important point to ponder however is the fact that the siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank are not at all a part of the conversation during the run up to the 17th of September. An indication of how much the Palestinian situation matters to most Israelis.

Israel’s road to a possible regional cataclysm?

Strikes on Iraq

The first issue of importance that must be touched when it comes to Israel’s unprovoked strikes against its neighbours, still remains the airstrikes conducted against Iraqi PMU forces. The New York Times reported that U.S. officials had confirmed Israel’s involvement in the July 19 attack against PMU forces in Iraq, but there has been no admission of guilt for the other four reported attacks.

Without an acceptance from the United States or Israel, however, we can analyse that Israel was more likely responsible for the other strikes too. This can be concluded due to various reasons, firstly, because Israel has repeatedly stated its aim to attack “Iranian proxies” in the region; secondly, because the Iraqi authorities have blamed Israel for it and; thirdly, due to the control of United States over Iraqi airspace.

Additional evidence which points to Israeli involvement in these attacks, is the Israeli company ‘Imagesat’, which releases photos – via satellite – of destroyed targets after they have been hit. This has been done in both Syria and Iraq and can be argued to be an inadvertent way of the Israeli’s bragging about their strikes.

Recent escalations on the Lebanese, Syrian and Gaza fronts

Tensions reached new heights late in the night of August 24, as Israel launched yet another round of strikes against Syria. These strikes reportedly targeted the Damascus International Airport, and various other sites, killing 4 members of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and two members of Lebanese Hezbollah. It is important to note that Syria did not respond to any strike or threats against Israel despite the fact that Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria, since the beginning of the Syrian war; killing civilians and soldiers.

A few hours later, in the early hours of August the 25th, two Israeli “suicide drones” according to Lebanese Hezbollah, hit a suburb in Southern Beirut. One of the drones was reportedly downed by children throwing stones at it, as it flew at a low altitude, with the second crashing into an office site belonging to Hezbollah. Both drones were later revealed, by Hezbollah, to have contained explosive packages inside of them and have now been passed over to the Lebanese Army.

Later that day the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech in which he threatened Israel with a retaliatory strike and stated that the armed group would shoot down Israeli drones over Lebanon and avenge the deaths of its members killed in the strikes on Syria.

Following this, Israel decided to strike a PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) General Command centre in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley region, that Sunday (August 26).

First Lebanon and then Iraq, both announced that the Israeli strikes against their countries amounted to a “declaration of war” and that they were within their rights to respond in self defence.

Israel also struck the besieged Gaza Strip on seven different days, between the 28th and the 16th of August alone. The armed wings of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad – the two predominant militant factions in Gaza – announced, following the strikes on Lebanon, that when Israel is under fire from the North, it will also be under fire from the South.

This means that the armed factions in Gaza will likely attack Israel, if and when any battles incur on the Lebanese front.

Israel is already looking for any excuse to justify future strikes against Lebanon, stating that they have the right to “defend themselves” against “Iranian precision missiles”, that they claim are being made in missile production factories; a claim that Nasrallah has refuted. Whether this is true or false, Israel clearly has no justification to launch strikes against Lebanon.

As with the claims of an Iranian missile threat from Lebanese soil, we see a similar pattern when it comes to excuses for bombarding Syria and Iraq. Iran is even being blamed for the actions of Hamas in Gaza.

The threat of Iran and its allies, is the tactic that Netanyahu is hoping to use, in order to scare the Israeli population into voting for him, but his plans may not be fulfilled.

The Hezbollah response and where is this heading?

Last Sunday, September 1, more than a week after their men were killed in Syria, Hezbollah launched an across border strike against an Israeli ‘wolf armoured military vehicle’. The strike was conducted in broad daylight; the vehicle was fired upon with two anti-tank missiles from different angles. An Israeli military site was also cleared out after coming under fire, according to the IDF.

Hezbollah claims that the strike had killed and injured Israeli soldiers, whilst the Israeli military and government gave different stories throughout the day. Israel now denies any casualty despite the video of the incident being released on al-Manar, a news site branded as the media wing of Hezbollah.

Israel fired back into Lebanon, following the strike from Hezbollah, hitting primarily farm land. The Israeli military stated that they had fired 100 rockets into Southern Lebanon, with the Lebanese military claiming that 40 were fired towards the village of Maroun al-Ras. Reports also surfaced claiming that the chemical weapon white-phosphorus had been used by the Israelis. Videos have surfaced since then, indicating the usage of some type of incendiary munition.

While analyzing the reaction of the Israeli military, one can conclude that their response wasn’t really a “response against Hezbollah” but rather a military procedure that ran to block the site of Hezbollah from Lebanon. At the most, the response was Israel’s way of showing its population that it did something and at the same time hit nothing, in order to prevent any further escalations at that point.

Since the Hezbollah response, Israel has been continuing to make its claims about the alleged Hezbollah-Iranian precision missile factories. They are now claiming to have located one in the Beqaa Valley; a sign that perhaps Israel is looking to launch further attacks against Lebanese territory.

If more attacks on Lebanon are to occur, there could possibly be another Lebanese-Israeli war.

Who is to answer for the current predicament?

Is the current predicament created by Israel part of a plan, which is being executed Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to win the upcoming elections in Israel or not.

It is not just Israel that is responsibility for the current situation. It is also due to the precedent that has been set by the International Community, through its lack of action to uphold the law when Israel commits violations. The constant violation of the 1945 UN Charter by Israel in Syria, and more recently in Iraq and Lebanon, also marks a clear violation of international customary law and treaty law.

Over the years, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has emerged as an intelligent politician and even if once his actions against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and occupied Palestinian territories hurt him politically, he would at least think twice before acting. But the fact of the matter is, Israel is never properly disciplined. It consistently gets away with all the crimes and human rights violations. So, in future if Israel gets too carried away and lights the entire region on fire, it is going to be the fault of all those who were tasked with the duty of upholding the law, but were for whatever reason too coward to do so.

How long will it take for the international community to put a full stop on Israel’s audacity to bomb any country and use the threat of Iran and its national security as a justification?

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Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a journalist and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank.He has Written frequently for publications such as Mint Press, Al-Masdar News, Mondoweiss, MEMO and elsewhere. He specializes in analysis of the Middle-East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He is currently working with PressTV.

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