On Monday 14 June, Israel inaugurated Naftali Bennett as its new prime minister, bringing Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year rule to an end.
Only 60 percent of the population who are subject to Israel’s (military and civilian) rule (including 1.5 million Palestinians) are entitled to vote in national elections, meaning that almost five million Palestinians are effectively disenfranchised. Furthermore, only one-third of Palestinians who live under Israeli rule had any say in selecting the country’s thirteenth prime minister.
Though hailed by many as an opportunity for a fresh start, Bennett appears to be even more aggressive and intransigent than his predecessor, and he himself appears to take great pride in this fact.
In 2013, he reportedly boasted: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.” In 2014, he called for more Israeli settlements to be built in the West Bank and called for them to remain under Israeli sovereignty, including illegal outposts that violate Israeli law. He has said: “We must continue building in all corners of the Land of Israel, with determination and without being confused. We are building and we will not stop.” In 2016, he called on Israeli Jews to dedicate their lives to annex the West Bank and more recently, on Sunday, June 13, 2021, just before his inauguration, he reiterated that his government would “strengthen settlements across the whole of the Land of Israel”.
Gold expects Bennett’s government to continue to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem, assault and massacre Palestinians in Gaza, imprison Palestinians in the West Bank and persecute Palestinian citizens of Israel.