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Barak calls for ‘siege’ of Knesset to oust Netanyahu

"If we can call elections by the end of March, there is still time to hold elections in June, which is critical," said Barak.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak speaks during a protest against judicial reform in Tel Aviv, June 24, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak speaks during a protest against judicial reform in Tel Aviv, June 24, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Former Israeli leader Ehud Barak on Sunday called on the public to “besiege” parliament in an ultimate attempt to force elections, dispose of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and establish a Palestinian state.

Barak told Army Radio on Sunday morning that “30,000 citizens need to camp outside the Knesset in tents for three weeks, day and night,” until “the country shuts down [and] Netanyahu realizes that his time is up.”

Barak called upon various segments of Israeli society to join the blockade, including political leaders, civil society organizations, the hi-tech sector, youth groups and teachers’ unions.

“If we can call elections by the end of March, there is still time to hold elections in June, which is critical,” added the former premier.

Israel must hold a vote by June if Jerusalem is to have a chance to accept the Biden administration’s plan for establishing a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, Barak argued earlier this month.

“Israel is urgently required to be prepared at a later stage in this process of bringing the revitalized [Palestinian] Authority to Gaza and entering into a political process, whose goal is ultimately two states,” he told his followers during a Feb. 13 Twitter Space.

There’s only a small window of opportunity for the Jewish state to accept the U.S. proposal because the American plan will require the approval of a majority of Congress, meaning some 15 Republican senators would need to support it, Barak noted.

“There is no chance that after April or May, such a thing could be passed during the American election [campaign] when [Donald] Trump or whoever will run for president. The Republicans will probably say, ‘We are not handing Biden any achievements,’” Barak argued.

On Saturday night, thousands of anti-government protesters blocked central Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, near the Kirya military headquarters, calling for early elections and a ceasefire-for-hostages deal with the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.

Twenty-one people were arrested during the protest, police said on Sunday, noting that activists ignored police warnings, blocked streets and clashed with law enforcement “despite repeated negotiation efforts.”

In Jerusalem, around 1,000 people with torches marched from the President’s Residence to Paris Square near Netanyahu’s official residence, likewise demanding early elections and a deal to release the hostages.

In late December, Barak laid out his renewed plans to oust Netanyahu. Highlights included Barak calling for demonstrators to “separate from the [judicial reform] protest movement” and stating that the movement to topple the premier “must not wait” until the war with Hamas ends.

Barak also described National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz and member Gadi Eizenkot as agents of the protest movement within the wartime unity government, saying that he believes that they will walk away from the government if there is a clash with the U.S. or the war with Hamas turns into a “war of attrition.”

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