Will Crisis-Plagued Netanyahu Start a War To Save His Skin? By Jonathan Cook

Never underestimate the villainy of which desperate politicians are capable. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

The PM has as much to lose as gain from hostilities. But with religious extremists dictating his agenda, he may find it hard to avoid setting the region ablaze

A favored tactic of Israeli prime ministers in trouble is to provoke a confrontation, or at least overreact to ensure one develops, and then send in the army.

Wars can be expected to unite Israelis behind a failing government and silence the opposition while winning uncritical support from Jews overseas and knee-jerk sympathy from western states.

Gaza has served this purpose repeatedly over the past 15 years. Notoriously, Ehud Olmert chose to use Lebanon – a much more challenging arena militarily – to try to prove his mettle in 2006 and rally Israel’s population behind his weak government. It did not turn out well for him.

Benjamin Netanyahu is an Israeli leader immersed in trouble – of both the personal and political kind – far more deeply than his predecessors.

He is in the midst of a corruption trial that is not going his way. He desperately needs to keep himself in power and pass legislation to weaken the courts if he is not to risk ending up in jail.

But his so-called “judicial overhaul”, intended to give his religious extremist allies effective control over the courts, has triggered unprecedented protests across the country. Netanyahu’s polling figures have tanked. He would almost certainly lose an election were one called today.

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