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Mr. Netanyahu, what is your endgame?

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Netanyahu at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv

Netanyahu at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

So now, after a summer filled with threats and unimaginable violence and with no end in sight, may I ask a question as a Jew – to you, the Israeli government and those who govern the Jewish state (as you claim it to be), in the name of Jewish history (as you often reference), and thus as the fulcrum of Jewish destiny (to which you say all Jews should pay attention)?

I pose the same question to those in high positions in Jewish institutions in America who enable Israel in the name of the Jewish people everywhere (as you also claim).

What’s your endgame in Gaza?

Then, tell me, what your endgame is in the West Bank and Jerusalem. As leaders you have a strategy – you have to. What is it? Where is it likely to lead us?

You justify everything Israel does. You invoke the Nazis, terrorist Hamas and now ISIS. Jews, indeed the whole world, has heard it all.

Tell us Israel, beyond tomorrow or the next day, what do you have in mind?

Gaza has been destroyed. Its infrastructure, such as it was, is reduced to rubble. What’s left to destroy?

You know every street in Gaza, with the addresses and the families dwelling therein. It seems you even know everyone’s phone number. Of course, and this seems central you, we should trust you because you know what makes Palestinians and Arabs tick – the iron fist. And now it seems from yesterday’s attack that even the highest echelon of Hamas is vulnerable to your power – along with their pregnant wives and children and others in the area where they happen to be.

With this extraordinary knowledge and skill, tell us Israel, now what?

With more than half of Gaza’s population under 21 years of age – minus the 1,000 or so of that age group you’ve already killed and a thousand more of various ages – 1.8 million Gazans remain.

Tell us Israel, after you have finished this war, what do you propose to do with the people of Gaza?

You know full well that no one outside your circles buys your reasoning. There have been few times when the global community has agreed on any issue or event so much as on your brutality and violation of all international standards of human decency. Even your greatest ally, the United States, at least President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, would disown you if they had the political will to do what their minds and conscience tell them is right and proper.

So with even the US (partial) roadblocks now in evidence, tell us Israel, is it your plan to shed your American blockers and make a run for it in the open field?

If you continued on your own and succeeded, tell us Israel, where that would leave you, the Jewish establishment in America and Jews in Israel and around the world? Would we Jews finally be free? What would that freedom mean?

It’s obvious that for you and your enablers, Palestinians are collateral damage. But it also seems that Jewish soldiers and Jewish history – our entire ethical tradition – is likewise collateral damage. Can both be sacrificed so easily for your as yet unannounced definition of the greater Jewish good?

Tell us Israel, the greater Jewish good – defined – as what?

It’s obvious where I’m going with this. But label my part deconstruction. I’ll even leave out what you consider utopian and traitorous – the numbers of Jews in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States who have been demonstrating against what you are doing in Gaza.

Since dissident Jews don’t have the power, at least lay out a minimum vision – of a somewhat sustainable, somewhat just and, alas, somewhat ethical view of the future of Israel and the Jewish people. I think this is a reasonable demand. To be honest, I haven’t heard anything close to this limited vision of a less than engaging future.

All I hear is ending the terror.

If you can’t imagine owing such a vision to the Gazans you’ve invaded and destroyed, then think of those in whose name you act. After all, Jewish history now is defined by your actions.

Isn’t it time to present your vision, on our behalf, if only to be debated?

There must be something beyond the terror you partake in and provoke.

Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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33 Responses

  1. seafoid on August 22, 2014, 11:54 am

    Bibi’s endgame is giving everyone in Israel a pony. And the Palestinians are taken in by passing gypsies. If you build it they will come. Inshallah.

    They have 22 other states. There never was such a thing as Palestine. He has been spouting the same shite for over 40 years.

  2. American on August 22, 2014, 12:17 pm

    ” Tell us Israel, the greater Jewish good – defined – as what?”

    You should understand it by now.
    For those that claim leadership of the Jewish people and for many who signed up with them its about power….and money and prestige…its about being top dogs in the world. Its about the sissy kid who always got picked on becoming a heavyweight champion and revenging all his old grudges.
    This is the culmination of Jewish victimhood culture mixed with a form of choseness armed to the teeth and led by a Zionist Mafia unconstrained by any laws or morality.
    This is what they call good for the Jews.

  3. Justpassingby on August 22, 2014, 12:30 pm

    It is reported (Haaretz) that puppet abbas, israel and some western states plane to take power in Gaza through U.N resolution.

  4. Stephen Shenfield on August 22, 2014, 12:32 pm

    Uri Avnery does not think Netanyahu has an endgame. His commentary on the present situation is well worth reading:

    • MHughes976 on August 22, 2014, 12:46 pm

      ‘Let’s bomb them till they stop hating us’ – grimly amusing.

      • RoHa on August 22, 2014, 1:54 pm

        “If he is alive, the assassination of his wife and baby son may not have made him gentler and more peaceable.”

      • Penfold on August 22, 2014, 8:17 pm

        I think that is part of it but my suspicion would be that since casualty rates for Israeli troops actually coming face to face with Hamas are going to be unacceptably high he will simply park outside us artillery/ships/aircraft to kill and destroy as many and as much as he can until the USA can no longer justify his actions to themselves and he has to stop.

  5. Polly on August 22, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Bibis’s objective is Greater Israel. Nothing less.

    • seafoid on August 22, 2014, 4:40 pm

      What will actually happen is that the Israeli Jewish poor will be shafted.
      The song is always the same. Beitar Jerusalem fans think the elites are on their side but it’s all time dependent, suckers.

      • RoHa on August 23, 2014, 4:00 am

        That’s what the poor are for. Why else would they keep us around, making the place look untidy?

  6. HarryLaw on August 22, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Israels end game is the same as it has been for generations, As many Israelis as possible in the land of Israel with as few Palestinians as possible, violence and ethnic cleansing [but not so much at any one time so as not to alarm the International community] will continue [mowing the lawn] until the Palestinians cry uncle. That’s the plan, in the meantime “Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman told yesterday’s mass-selling German daily Bild that Germany had a “very significant” role to play in preventing an economic and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza When Gaza is rebuilt, level it again. In other words they have no plan other than violence, will the world put up with this?

    • RoHa on August 22, 2014, 1:43 pm

      ” In other words they have no plan other than violence, will the world put up with this?”

      Has done up to now.

    • Citizen on August 23, 2014, 7:17 am

      Yea, the Germans can add reconstruction of Gaza to their reparations bill, right along with the deep discount price on those German-built Dolphin submarines they gave to Israel. Meanwhile Fox News channel keeps playing multiple times daily an ad directed at Christian fundies to donate for Jews starving in Israel because Israel had to take away their benefits to fight terrorism.

  7. Kay24 on August 22, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Yeah what is your end game Bibi? According to Haaretz:

    “The cost of Israel’s Gaza op: $60 million a day
    Overall cost of Operation Protective Edge has passed $2.5 billion after 41 days of fighting, leaving big hole in state budget.”

    May be one of the costliest massacres by Israel. I guess they will expect the US and other suckers to pay up.

    I suggest instead of US tax payers once again paying for Israel rather violent excursions into Gaza, it’s loyal servants like Bloomberg, Joan Rivers, Steve Israel, congress and other zio lovers, pay it themselves, this time. We can spend our money within our nation.

  8. chet on August 22, 2014, 2:35 pm

    The endgame? — An Israel without Palestinians, exclusive access to the offshore oil and gas and the Litani River.

    As this game is only in mid-match, there are many more moves to be made, more defenses to be overcome, before the endgame comes into sight.

  9. concernedhuman on August 22, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Thought provoking questions . I am sure, US Congress that wrote letter to UNHRC telling not to do a criminal investigation of gaza invasion and the AIPAC members have answers .
    And even the leaders of the countries that said Israel has right to defend it self too have answers. Because all these are responsible for the war, the blockade occupation and suffering …

  10. ivri on August 22, 2014, 5:03 pm

    What`s the endgame? – that`s a good question. Of course sometimes you just struggle to overcome current problems with the hope that in the end things will somehow sort themselves out in ways that are unforeseeable now since circumstances can change and the outcomes of consecutive move scan create new realities. Yet, there is a possible direction. Remember how the West-Bank looked just a decade and a half ago – exactly as Gaza now. And how were the relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel 6 decades ago – hugely explosive. So Gaza is the third leg in a process of normalization – the Palestinians internalizing that trying to undo Israel is too costly and accepting the Jewish entity and finding ways to coexist with it, no matter how non-ideal, is the only reasonable to go. The details can be worked out with time (no need for in-rush futile “peace agreements”) but it is the recognition of facts that matter most. As is already happening with Israel with Arab countries sin the region – Jordan, Egypt and Saudi-Arabia (and Gulf allies) – which informally create forms of cooperation with Israel while those that consistently refused as Syria, Iraq and Libya are falling apart (as Hamas may now be too).

    • wes on August 22, 2014, 5:39 pm


      i agree

      but only the eu can solve the problem in gaza
      not america north and south,not asia,and not the middle eastern countries like guitar that changes its tune with each new player

      eu supervised demilitarization of gaza and then a seaport linked to europe
      not cyprus turkey but maybe italy or greece.
      those european countries that have centuries old links to jewish history must be part of the equation.
      gas resources could help fund the reconstruction in 2 stages
      demilitarization and then reconstruction with seaport linked to europe.

      • just on August 22, 2014, 7:08 pm

        Good thing that you two are not in charge… you both speak as Occupiers/colonizers.

        Where is the will/self-determination of the indigenous Palestinians in your schemes?

      • Mooser on August 23, 2014, 1:35 am

        “Good thing that you two are not in charge”

        I think the fact that they have to come to Mondoweiss to be ‘keyboard commandos” and play “keyboard prime minister” shows you how far they are from being in charge.
        They come here when not even the Zionists sites will have them. They’d rather try to shock us with their vicarious brutality than be told how stupid they are by other Zionists.

      • ivri on August 23, 2014, 2:42 am

        That`s all just a bunch of insults – no arguments. Which is not a bad thing since that`s what people that are endemically hostile to Israel always do when faced with realities they don`t like or ones that fly in the face of their hopes and expectations. I am not surprised by the big demonstrations in Europe – those people understand things and can see that this fight with Hamas is not just another “round” but the culmination of a process, namely, after almost a century, Israel is getting established in the region that it is in. can`t be smooth, will never be problems-free but that`s what history in general is about – yet another “episode” of it is reaching some form of maturity.

    • Citizen on August 23, 2014, 7:27 am

      Re: “So Gaza is the third leg in a process of normalization – the Palestinians internalizing that trying to undo Israel is too costly and accepting the Jewish entity and finding ways to coexist with it, no matter how non-ideal, is the only reasonable to go. ”

      Bet you wouldn’t want to live under such a “process of normalization.” What is “normal” living to you? Where do you live? What is the norm there?

      Ah, I see ivri says he’s Israeli. Can we assume he/she lives in Israel? Wes does not live in Israel. Can we assume he/she lives in USA? We want to know where these two commenters actually live, so we know what they mean by “normalization.”

      • ivri on August 23, 2014, 9:35 am

        I understand the point but everything in this world is relative and so is the definition of normal” here – it is in terms of the context of the region that is Israel physically located in. I can`t see Scandinavian conditions around Israel (where I indeed live) and, granted, compared to many countries around, even the “non-normal” routine situation of it and in it (in non-warring episodes) is pretty benign.

    • libra on August 23, 2014, 11:34 am

      ivri: …and finding ways to coexist with it, no matter how non-ideal…

      I think your right ivri, the final outcome will be a single, democratic state – though it’s so non-ideal for you that you can’t bring yourself to say it. But in the end you get what you deserve and you, ivri, really do deserve it.

  11. radii on August 22, 2014, 6:36 pm

    the title is a joke, right?

    Bibi plans to keep escalating – ISIS is a Mossad creation from what I’ve read – another bogeyman to provide the sales slogans for more wars

    Bibi plans to keep attacking Gaza until they people are pushed out – to Jordan and Sinai

    Bibi plans to influence the outcome of the Syria war, control over Lebanon, tighter rein over Egypt, to expand its cooperation with Saudi Arabia for the war on Iran both want so badly for the U.S. to fight for them

    Bibi plans further annexation of East Jerusalem

    Bibi is the Monster’s charioteer

  12. a blah chick on August 22, 2014, 7:38 pm

    There is no endgame, Butcher Bibi thought that the Palestinians would have surrendered by now. They didn’t and now he can do nothing more than keep the killing machine going.

    I have no idea how this is going to play out.

  13. DICKERSON3870 on August 23, 2014, 12:53 am

    RE: “Tell us Israel, the greater Jewish good – defined – as what? . . . Since dissident Jews don’t have the power, at least lay out a minimum vision – of a somewhat sustainable, somewhat just and, alas, somewhat ethical view of the future of Israel and the Jewish people. All I hear is ending the terror. . . There must be something beyond the terror you partake in and provoke.” ~ Marc Ellis

    A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the purveyors of new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine® Ultra CR (Controlled Release) Transdermal Patch: Let The Good Times Roll!

    I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
    I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
    In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
    I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
    And when it was all over I said to myself,
    “Is that all there is to a fire?”

    Is that all there is?
    Is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends
    Then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    And when I was 12 years old, my daddy took me to a circus.
    “The Greatest Show On Earth.”
    There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
    And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
    And as I sat there watching, I had the feeling that something was missing.
    I don’t know what, but when it was over,
    I said to myself,
    “Is that all there is to a circus?”

    Is that all there is?
    Is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends
    Then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is . . .

    . . . I know what you must be saying to yourselves.
    “If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?”
    Oh, no, not me.
    I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment.
    ‘Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you,
    That when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath
    I’ll be saying to myself-

    Is that all there is?
    Is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends
    Then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? 1969 [VIDEO, 04:38] –

    P.S. The Ziocaine concept was first used on Mondoweiss by “Mooser”

  14. gracie fr on August 23, 2014, 9:51 am

    …Invading Gaza at the present time not ….
    he topic of the army’s briefing was the challenge of reoccupying Gaza and disarming Hamas. Numerous figures on the right, including senior Cabinet ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, have insisted for weeks that Israel should aim to conquer the district rather than negotiate a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place.

    They’ve gotten broad support from lawmakers in Netanyahu’s own Likud. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon have resisted the demand at the army’s urging.

    The army’s PowerPoint briefing indicated that conquering Gaza, with its estimated 20,000 gunmen and tens of thousands of weapons, would take at least five years and leave hundreds of Israeli soldiers and thousands of Palestinian civilians dead. It would lead to prolonged rioting in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs, and would probably rupture Israel’s peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt, the generals reportedly said.

    After taking over, Israel would face violent chaos for several more years until the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet get an intelligence network in place and stabilize Israeli rule. Soldiers would face a high risk of kidnapping throughout.

    According to news accounts, several ministers grilled the generals afterward, claiming that the PowerPoint presentation grossly exaggerated the difficulties. They claimed the army was trying to bully the ministers into rejecting an invasion and accepting a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place. The generals reportedly shot back that they were merely presenting hard intelligence.

    Netanyahu finally asked for a straw vote. Nobody voted to invade. In the weeks since, however, Cabinet members Lieberman, Bennett and Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan of Likud have repeatedly criticized Netanyahu and urged reoccupying Gaza and crushing Hamas.

  15. talknic on August 23, 2014, 11:48 am

    Netanyahu’s end game? Same as any Israeli PM, not to end up like Rabin. They dig deeper holes until excused by the election of someone to replace them

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