In Israel, demonstrators are struggling to revive resistance: “We oscillate between despair and anger”

In Israel, demonstrators are struggling to revive resistance: “We oscillate between despair and anger”
In Israel, demonstrators are struggling to revive resistance: “We oscillate between despair and anger”

Resistance week

Since Sunday, spontaneous demonstrations have been promised across the country, as well as snail operations on the highways that irrigate it. Flying under a myriad of flags, organizers called on the Israeli population to join them en masse. Hoping to give a boost to the protest. “Everyone is aware that the two months before the parliamentary summer break are crucial”, explains Cécile Rotenberg, who manages a student group.

There are fears of a change in the security landscape subsequently, in particular with the probable appointment of a new commissioner at the head of the national police by the current Minister of Internal Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir. This settler from Hebron, himself repeatedly condemned for violent actions and incitement to hatred, hates the demonstrators. “We risk losing what little democracy we have left”, sighs Cécile. She has been attending the demonstrations since the beginning, the appearance of the monster movement which rose up against the judicial reform wanted by the Netanyahu government, at the beginning of 2023. “At the time, there was a real feeling of optimism, we were fighting against something, but also for a new vision of Israeli society”, she remembers, “but since the start of the war, we have oscillated between despair and anger”.

The eyes of the police

Cécile still hopes that the preservation of Israeli institutions and the overhaul of the political system can lead the country towards greater openness. She has reason to hope, this week, the demonstrator saw faces again that she had not seen for months. “It’s difficult for students in particular, many are in the reserve army, they are exhausted. But what I especially see in recent weeks is that hatred is growing in the eyes of the police.”, she adds.

In Jerusalem, the routine is the same every evening. The demonstrators meet in front of the Knesset, where a stage flanked by an enormous sound system was installed semi-permanently. Under tents, different groups sell leaflets and t-shirts. The color of the hostages, yellow is everywhere, as is the green of the IDF, to show that disagreement does not mean treachery to the Zionist ideal. And always, the many Israeli flags. They sometimes beat alongside badges calling for “the end of the occupation”, but these voices remain in the minority.

Although the speeches are virulent, the population remains calm. After a few hours, the most emboldened headed towards the prime minister’s residence, a few dozen minutes’ walk away. Sometimes we run, to try to overtake the police, but they are ready. At the end of the evening this week, the demonstrators were systematically treated to water cannons. At least two people were injured, including a woman quite seriously in the left eye. The police received their instructions: several dozen people were arrested.

Dissolution of Netanyahu’s war cabinet: “Instead of dissolving the cabinet, we should dissolve the government”

Dissolution du cabinet

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the dissolution of his war cabinet, a vestige of the national unity that had formed after October 7, which became obsolete after the resignation of centrist politicians Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, both former chief of staff. It is still difficult to judge the consequences, but it will undoubtedly not help relations between the government and the IDF, which are becoming more and more openly conflictual. The officers explicitly declare that the eradication of Hamas is an impossibility and an agreement inevitable. The Prime Minister persists.

The existence of a restricted council has only fueled the thirst for power of the head of government’s supremacist allies, who are putting pressure on him so that the war leads to the recolonization of Gaza, the annexation of the West Bank and the elimination of Hezbollah. Benjamin Netanyahu, whose status as leader of the Jewish people is only maintained thanks to them, gives the same speech, strong and virile, which does not necessarily displease a disoriented Israeli population.

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