Embattled Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been facing pressure at home and abroad amid his government’s continued bombing of the Gaza strip. With protests in both Jerusalem and the UK, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has continued. And the Israeli PM is refusing to back down on all fronts.
The PA news agency reported that on Saturday 22 August, thousands of protesters marched on Netanyahu’s residence in central Jerusalem. They were protesting over his continued tenure as prime minister. The demonstrations came amid a backdrop of a summer of protests, centred around Netanyahu’s government’s handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But people are also angry about him continuing to hold office while on trial over corruption charges:
Protesters managed to reach the PM’s residence on Balfour Street. As PA reported:
Outside the residence, they hoisted giant balloons depicting smeared heads of the leader and his rival-turned-coalition partner Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party, waved Israeli flags and the black flag of one of the grassroot protest movements.
Israel is facing the prospect of a fourth round of elections in the space of just over a year. This is because its ruling coalition government, so far, has been deadlocked about its forthcoming budget. The Times of Israel reported that there is a:
a tug of war between Netanyahu’s Likud party and… Gantz.
The sides have until Monday night to either pass a budget or get Knesset approval to extend the deadline by 100 days or the government will automatically fall, heralding new elections, the fourth round in under two years.
The heart of the dispute is whether the sides should pass a budget that includes 2021, as stipulated in the coalition and backed by Gantz, the defense minister, or a budget that only covers the rest of 2020, which Likud has insisted on
Some commentators believe that Netanyahu wants another election. This is because it would stall his corruption trial. So far, the PM seems unfazed by the protests. PA reported that Netanyahu called the protests the “work of leftists and the media”. But it wasn’t just in Jerusalem that protests over him and his government were happening.
In the UK
Also on 22 August, over 35 demonstrations happened up and down the UK. They were organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaign Against Arms Trade, and War on Want. The demos marked six years since one of Israel’s bombing campaigns against Gaza, called Operation Protective Edge, stopped. In a press release, the groups said:
The 2014 attack killed over 2,200 Palestinians in 51 days. The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict found credible allegations that Israel committed war crimes through its indiscriminate attacks on densely populated civilian areas, which left over 100,000 Palestinians homeless.
Protesters called for an end to the two-way arms trade with Israel. Government statistics, collated by Campaign Against Arms Trade show that since 2015, the UK has licensed over £376 million worth of arms to Israel.
Source: The Canary.