Wounded Netanyahu will survive the war he didn’t see coming, but the peace may kill him off

Despite his disastrous failure to prevent this week’s appalling attacks by Hamas, the majority of the Israeli public (as well as the US President) continue to back the prime minister to lead them into war, writes Donald Macintyre. But he could well face a brutal reckoning once this terrible conflict recedes

Wednesday 11 October 2023 18:31 BST
<p>Netanyahu thanks Joe Biden for  his support </p>

Netanyahu thanks Joe Biden for his support

The first sentence of the editorial in Haaretz, the liberal newspaper whose English edition is sold in Israel inside The New York Times, could hardly have been more stark: “The disaster that befell Israel on the holiday of Simchat Torah is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Haaretz was talking not only of the colossal intelligence failures before Hamas’s murderous breakout from Gaza on the religious holiday that marks the end of Sukkot. It also cited the formation and the policies towards the Palestinians of his coalition government, Israel’s most right-wing ever.

But it was not alone in generally levelling blame at what former prime minister Ehud Olmert this week called the “arrogance” of Netanyahu. Even the right-wing, historically pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom published an op-ed on Monday by veteran defence analyst Yoav Limor which it headlined “A failure of unimaginable proportions made worse by a leadership vacuum”.

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