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Top former Israeli national security officials say Netanyahu needs to go

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In a letter to Israel’s president and speaker of parliament, over forty senior former Israeli national security officials, renowned scientists, and well-known businessmen demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be removed from office for what they claim is a “existential” threat to the nation.

Three Nobel Prize winners, two former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chiefs, and four former directors of Israel’s domestic and foreign security services are among the signatories of the letter.

In addition to his very contentious efforts to restructure Israel’s court, which they claim resulted in security failings that led to the October 7 assaults, the worst day in Israeli history, the letter criticizes the coalition Netanyahu put together to form the most right-wing government in the country’s history.

It states, “We believe that Netanyahu bears primary responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the horrific massacre of over 1,200 Israelis and others, the wounding of over 4,500 people, and the kidnapping of over 230 people, of whom over 130 are still in the hands of Hamas.” “Netanyahu has the victim’s blood on his hands.”

The letter was forwarded to Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana on Friday and Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday.

Just over a year ago, Netanyahu began his sixth term as prime minister; since then, his popularity has plummeted. His judicial reform initiatives have drawn harsh criticism; they split the nation and raised the possibility of a constitutional crisis due to months of large-scale, frequent protests.

As stated in the letter, “leaders of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas seized the opportunity to harm and damage Israel’s security and openly praised what they correctly saw as a destabilizing and erosive process of Israel’s stability, led by Netanyahu.”

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The 43 signatories include previous heads of the Israel Defense Forces, Moshe Ya’alon and Dan Halutz; directors of the internal security agency Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman and Yaakov Peri; and Tamir Pardo and Danny Yatom, who oversaw the Mossad spy agency.

The letter was signed by three chemistry Nobel laureates, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Dan Shechtman, as well as former CEOs, diplomats, and government officials.

According to a poll conducted this week by Israel’s Channel 13, Likud, Netanyahu’s political party, would currently finish well behind in the results of a modern election. The National Unity party, headed by former IDF chief of staff and current member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet Benny Gantz, was the poll’s front-runner.

The next elections aren’t scheduled until late 2026, but there have been calls for early elections and rallies, including one from Yair Lapid, a prominent figure in the Israeli opposition.

Haim Tomer, a former head of Mossad’s intelligence section and signatory to the letter calling for Netanyahu’s departure, said, “The situations that brought Israel to elections beforehand are almost nothing in comparison to what Israel is going through now.”

Tomer told CNN, “Everyone knows that Netanyahu is incompetent to lead Israel.”

Since the United States, Israel’s principal ally, has persisted in advocating for a two-state solution, Netanyahu has frequently stated in the past week that he opposes Palestinian sovereignty for security concerns.

The signatories to the letter charge Netanyahu with supporting Hamas in Gaza for years at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, which the US has maintained needs to be revived to rule both Gaza and the West Bank.

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According to CNN, Netanyahu approved of Qatar’s cash-filled suitcases being sent to Gaza for years, even though his own government expressed reservations. The funds were meant to cover retiree benefits and salary for federal officials. Instead of being given in cash, it is now sent by bank transfers, and as late as last month, Qatar declared that it would still be paying for it.

Netanyahu formed the most right-wing cabinet in Israeli history by assembling parties far to the right of Likud to establish his current administration. The Biden administration has criticized two of its most well-known members, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, for advocating that Palestinians should evacuate Gaza.

By “blaming others and inciting against those who had fought to save the Israeli democracy from his destructive actions and plans, and now mobilize whole heartedly to support Israel’s national war efforts,” Netanyahu is accused in the letter of avoiding accepting responsibility for the October 7 attacks.

The call to replace the prime minister with the speaker of the Knesset and a warning that “the Israeli nation and Jewish history will not forgive you if you do not fulfill your utmost national responsibility” are heard at the end of the speech.

A prime minister cannot be removed from office by the president or speaker in a unilateral manner.

According to Tomer, the former Mossad official, the appropriate people “need to get their hands on the steering wheel.”

Tomer remarked, “I think people start to look at Israel from the outside and ask themselves what happened to this country.” “What has happened to this country that was once led by some very intelligent people and is now led by some idiots?”

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“We need a restart, we need a restart,” is the phrase we’ve been using in the circles I’ve been a member of.
Since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, Israel’s conflict in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of over 25,000 Palestinians and the displacement of nearly two million people, earning it harsh international censure.

Israel has maintained again and time again that the individuals it is fighting are Hamas militants, who are imprisoning over 130 civilians in appalling conditions in the combat zone.

Politicians who are calling for Netanyahu’s resignation, Netanyahu said at a press conference last week, are effectively calling for the creation of a Palestinian state.

South Africa filed a genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), claiming that Israel’s leadership planned to “bring about the destruction of its Palestinian population.”

Israel refutes the accusations, claiming that its leadership has not demonstrated genocidal intent and that the war is being waged in self-defense.


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