Chaos in “Israel’s” Ruling Elite Over Ideologue Takeover of West Bank Policy

“Israel’s” strategy is to keep the majority of the Palestinians of the West Bank occupied with their daily lives and routines, making armed struggle and grassroots popular efforts against their oppressors less desirable

This year’s violence in the West Bank has amounted to both a revival of the armed struggle in the territory, whilst on the other hand claiming the most Palestinian lives since 2005. As the new Israeli administration seats ideologically driven extremists, fears have clearly arisen from senior Zionist officials over the quixotic nature of the new regime’s endeavours.

Israeli Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, eyes a return to power with the aid of the third largest party in the Israeli Knesset, Religious Zionism, whose leading figures are Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Religious Zionism has incurred the wrath of fellow Zionist organisations and politicians both within and outside the entity, for its openly extremist tendencies; its leading figures even being lambasted in the past by the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby in the US and Board of Deputies in the UK.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a protégé of the terrorist Kach movement, has struck a deal with Netanyahu to become “Tel Aviv’s” national security minister, whilst Bezalel Smotrich was promised the finance ministry, in addition to being a “minister in the ministry of defence”. Smotrich will also have significant authority over Israeli settlement and “security” affairs inside the West Bank. Whilst Benjamin Netanyahu has not given the Religious Zionism party full unfettered control over the West Bank, everything other than actual military operations will be handed to the ideologies of the extremist party.

Traditionally, the way the Zionism regimes occupation authorities have operated in the West Bank is through the Israeli military directly. The so-called coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), which is responsible for the likes of corresponding with the Palestinian Authority (PA) on a range of issues including Security Coordination, was in the past run through the Israeli cabinet member who was appointed “minister of defence”. According to a report in Israeli Haaretz news, the move to shift control of the West Bank, is tantamount to a “revolution” in the power structure there. In real terms, the extremist Zionist settlers will have control of the West Bank if this move goes ahead, something which is already ruffling feathers in the European Union and US feathers..

Michael Milshtein, a former lead advisor to the Zionist regime on Palestinian affairs is quoted in the Zionist media outlet, the Jerusalem Post, as being extremely concerned with the move. His wording is very interesting to analyze. “We all know that Smotrich isn’t interested in easing the lives of the Palestinians, he doesn’t come to this position with tight and deep relations with Palestinians. And that’s what makes me concerned. The issue of preserving the channels of discourse with the Palestinian Authority itself and the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, if this responsibility is going to be undermined, there will be a dramatic effect on the West Bank,” Milshtein said.

As the Israeli military chief Aviv Kohavi and minister of war Benny Gantz both fire off, in opposition to the positions of power given to Bezalel Smotrich, along with several other Zionist military officials, Milshtein’s statement noted above is key to understand. When Zionist officials and analysts make statements in which they voice concern about relations with Palestinians, their concern comes on two levels; first the economic and second the security coordination level.

“Israel’s” strategy is to keep the majority of the Palestinians of the West Bank occupied with their daily lives and routines, making armed struggle and grassroots popular efforts against their oppressors less desirable. It is in this way that the Zionist regime seeks a caring type approach to Palestinians, because they want to make sure they are not being turned into revolutionaries out of necessity, due to economic constraints. This policy position has nothing to do with genuine care for West Bank Palestinians, it is purely strategic in nature.

Then there are relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Zionist regime has little use for the political elite within the PA at this time, however, they have failed to create a situation where the PA’s security forces are independent actors and completely disassociated from the political leadership. It is for this reason that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling political elite are still needed, but are viewed as a nuisance of sorts. The PA’s security forces however are integral to maintaining control over the West Bank and have for long been the outsource contractor that has been responsible for gathering intelligence and protecting Israeli settlers and soldiers from resistance attacks. If the security forces are isolated, even disbanded, the Israeli military now must take all of the nitty gritty tasks of occupation into their own hands, something which will place a huge burden on their entire military establishment.

“Israel” needs collaborators and a willingly non-combatant Palestinian public in the West Bank, without this, they will suffer a third intifada on a mass scale and the situation will be tantamount their worst nightmare. What seasoned Zionist officials understand, is that you need to play a Machiavellian game in order to succeed. This is where many on the outside are not understanding the situation. The Religious Zionism party officials do not have vastly differing goals when it comes to oppressing the Palestinian people, the difference comes in their strategy and rhetoric. Shrewd political and military elites in the Zionist entity fear the introduction of the clumsy, ill-educated and emotionally driven Zionist activists and so they condemn them.

The EU has just abandoned a police cooperation deal with the entity, as US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has already stated his opposition to West Bank annexation, changes to the status quo at Holy Sites, and settlements. What has just happened is that the hardline extremist ideology that underpins the Zionist regime, is now coming to the surface in a way which disregards strategy and the veneer of respectability in the eyes of the liberal West.

This extremist Zionist activist takeover will ultimately lead to an inevitable escalation, not only within the West Bank, but in the entirety of historic Palestine. If this new regime takes over, it is going to be horrific for Palestinians in the short and mid-term, but in the long term this will be potentially fatal to the Zionist entity.