Netanyahu having a ‘nervous breakdown over Gaza strategy’

Former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is “in a state of nervous breakdown” as he criticised the Israeli chief’s approach to the war on Palestine.

Olmert argued that Netanyahu went from being perceived as “Mr Security to Mr Bull***t” after failing to predict Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7.

Speaking to POLITICO, Olmert said: “I’m not exaggerating.

“He’s being squeezed from all sides and his focus seems to be stopping being thrown out of office the day the war stops and even maybe before then.

“You expect him now to talk about the second phase and the third phase. He’s not certain he will survive politically this phase.”

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He added: “[Netanyahu] has shrunk. He’s destroyed emotionally, that’s for sure. I mean, something terrible happened to him. Bibi has been working all his life on the false pretence that he is Mr Security. He’s Mr Bull***t.

“Every minute he is prime minister he is a danger to Israel. I seriously mean it. I am certain the Americans understand he is in bad shape.”

This week, Netanyahu said Israel will have “overall security responsibility” in Gaza “for an indefinite period” after its war with Hamas and expressed openness to “little pauses” in the current fighting to facilitate the release of hostages.

His comments, in an interview that aired late Monday on ABC News, offered the clearest indication yet that Israel plans to maintain control over the territory that is home to some 2.3million Palestinians.

Netanyahu ruled out any general cease-fire without the release of the more than 240 captives seized by Hamas in its October 7 raid into Israel, but said he was open to “tactical little pauses”.

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US President Joe Biden had raised the need for humanitarian pauses directly with Netanyahu on a call earlier Monday, but no agreement was reached, the White House said.

Responding to Netanyahu’s comments, Olmert said: “There is a total lack of planning for the next phase.

“What are we going to do? Okay, according to Netanyahu, we are going to smash and break down Hamas. And I think, by the way, that we can do it. Then what is the next step? What are we going to do then? Does anyone think about it? We need to present to the international community our idea of an endgame.”

He added: “It’s not in Israel’s interests to oversee the security of Gaza. It is in our interests to be able to defend ourselves in a different way than we did before the October 7 attack. But to control Gaza again? No.”

He continued: “If Israel produced a serious proposal for two-state negotiations it would have a dramatic impact on the international community. It would give us more space and time to achieve the aims of our military operations — it would have an impact on public opinion in Western countries and in the media.

“It would show Israel is committed to doing something it hasn’t wanted to in the past 15 years. So, something positive could come out of all of this. But we’re not doing it, and no one wants to think about it. No one wants to spell it out. No one wants to say it.”

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