The Netanyahu doctrine: how Israel’s longest-serving leader reshaped the country in his image
He first became prime minister in 1996, and has been pushing the country further right ever since. Most agree his political days are numbered – but the approach he established will prove very difficult to shift
An attack like Hamas’s 7 October massacre was not supposed to have been possible. Certainly not while prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in charge. He was, as his acolytes put it, “Mr Security”. He wanted to be remembered, he said, as “the protector of Israel”. He boasted that Israel had never known a more peaceful and prosperous time than the roughly 16 years he has been in power. It was under his successive administrations that Israel installed the Iron Dome system to intercept rockets from the Gaza Strip, and constructed, along the Gaza border, a 40-mile, $1.1bn fence, equipped with underground sensors, remote-controlled weapons and an expansive camera system. The success of Netanyahu’s vision of Fortress Israel could be measured in the imperceptibility of the Palestinians and their suffering from the comfort of a Tel Aviv cafe.
But the relative calm of the last decade-and-a-half was built upon a series of illusions: that the Palestinians and their aspirations for freedom could be hidden behind concrete barriers and ignored; that any remaining resistance could be managed through a combination of technology and overwhelming firepower; that the world, and especially Sunni Arab states, had grown so tired of the Palestinian issue that it could be removed from the global agenda, and consequently, that Israeli governments could do as they pleased and suffer few consequences.Continue reading...
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