Palestinian political activists and columnists are closely monitoring the controversy in Israel surrounding the judicial overhaul, but they are divided over its implications for both Israel and the Palestinians. They are also divided over the magnitude of the crisis between the US administration and the Israeli government.
While some Palestinians have expressed hope that the crisis would mark the beginning of the “collapse” of the “Zionist entity” and the “disintegration” of Israeli society and the IDF, others said they did not rule out the possibility that the Israeli government would initiate a military confrontation with the Palestinians or the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group as part of an effort to reunite the Israeli public.
The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and other major Palestinian factions have thus far avoided commenting directly on the crisis. But political analysts and columnists from across the Palestinian political spectrum have not hesitated to express their views on the ongoing crisis.
It’s hard to ignore the tone of satisfaction in their statements over the deepening crisis, especially reports concerning the refusal of IDF reservists and pilots to serve or volunteer in protest of the judicial overhaul. Moreover, it’s hard to ignore the growing hope among Palestinian officials in Ramallah that the crisis would eventually topple the Israeli government.
On social media, the hashtag “The [Zionist] Entity is Collapsing” has been trending almost since the beginning of the widespread protests in Israel. Several Palestinian and Arab social-media users predicted that the crisis would lead to the “collapse” of Israel, especially in light of the opposition of many IDF reservists and pilots to the judicial reform.
A Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon wrote in response to the deepening crisis: “We need to prepare our luggage to return to Palestine. The countdown for the destruction of the Zionist entity has begun. The Palestinians should be prepared to return to their homes.”
While some Palestinians said they take the crisis between the US administration and the Israeli government seriously, others underestimated its significance, saying the Americans would never abandon Israel, notwithstanding who’s in government in Jerusalem.
Talal Okal, a Palestinian columnist affiliated with the PA, said the Palestinians “are facing an historic opportunity” because of the presence of the “most right-wing” government in Israel.
The Israeli government was currently focusing its efforts on “saving the head” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption-related charges, he said.
Furthermore, the Israeli government can’t find support in international areas, including the US, because of its policies and actions, Okal said. Since the beginning of the crisis in Israel, the Netanyahu government has initiated rounds of fighting with the Palestinians as a means of distraction, he added.
“Netanyahu tried, so he went to Gaza, then to Jenin, but he failed to alleviate the crisis,” Okal said. “And he hasn’t been able to escalate the situation with Hezbollah. Each time Netanyahu goes for a partial escalation for a limited time, the protests [in Israel] come back to the streets.
“In general, with every round of aggression launched by the Israeli government, the issue of Israel’s ability to deter is eroded, and the prestige of the army, which they claim is invincible, declines as it stands helpless in front of a few resistance fighters in Jenin, its camp, and its villages.
“The internal crisis has escalated and is taking on dangerous dimensions that threaten the outbreak of a civil war. The gap between Israel and the United States is increasing for many reasons that made Biden unusually reject Netanyahu’s invitation to the White House.”
“The general internal and external scene of the fascist-racist occupation state is getting darker day after day, as the internal conditions are heading toward more societal and institutional disintegration, which reaches all state institutions, most importantly the army and the security and police agencies,” he said. “The level of violence against protesters against the judicial coup has increased, indicating that the circle of warfare and the use of violence and counter-violence are about to widen. On the external level, Israel’s isolation is increasing, and its racist-fascist nature is more and more evident. Without falling into the illusions of a radical change in US policy, which will not come in perspective, this situation constitutes a historic opportunity that the Palestinians do not have the right to waste,” Okal said.
Columnist Akram Atallah commented on the judicial reform crisis by advising the Palestinians to learn from the Israeli experience.
Israel's political turmoil highlights the lack of a democratic process in Palestinian society
Regardless of how the crisis ends, “the painful question for the Palestinians is what they see on the other side of the wall: democratic elections,” he said.
Noting that the Palestinians have not been able to hold general elections for the past two decades as a result of the power struggle between Hamas and the ruling Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, he asked: “Why don’t the Palestinians move in the face of the conflict that took place between the major Palestinian movements? For the Palestinians, elections did not take place, and the street did not move.”
“In Palestine, not only the judicial system was destroyed, but the entire social, political, economic, and national system, as well as the system of freedoms,” Atallah said. “They, too, were all destroyed. The truth is that the Palestinian people are divided, like the factions. Why do the Palestinians move against Israel instead of moving against their internal crisis that has destroyed all their institutions and daily life?”
The Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds warned in an editorial that Netanyahu, “who is a master of deception and politics, can unite all Jews against the Palestinians through a series of attacks and wars that are launched against them, whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.”
According to the east Jerusalem newspaper, which frequently reflects the views of the PA leadership, “When Netanyahu feels that the situation may get out of his hands, he resorts to aggression, whether against the Palestinians, southern Lebanon, Syria, or even Iran, with the aim of diverting attention from what is happening inside Israel and to unify the Jews in support of this aggression, and to give priority to the external crisis over the internal crisis.”
Al-Quds advised the Palestinians and Arabs to be careful and pay attention to Netanyahu’s alleged efforts.
“As in the past, the occupying state will solve its crises and internal problems through wars and aggression that may be waged at any moment,” the editorial said.