Benjamin Netanyahu has created a “perverse incentive” for Palestinians that the only way to extract concessions is through force, according to the Economist’s Middle East correspondent, Gregg Carlstrom.
The Israeli prime minister has “done everything in his power to undermine the Palestinian Authority”, a moderate political entity governing the West Bank that is open to negotiations, Mr Carlstrom told Sky News.
At the same time he has “treated Hamas for years like a legitimate governing entity in Gaza” by discussing economic benefits and prisoner swaps, he said.
“The lesson, implicitly, that Netanyahu has been sending to the Palestinians is the only way to extract any kind of concessions from Israel is through force, and it has created a very perverse incentive that played some role, I think, in leading us to Saturday,” Mr Carlstrom said.
He suggested that Mr Netanyahu may not be prime minister for long once the war is over.
“It is very difficult to imagine him surviving this” because he has built his appeal to voters on security, Mr Carlstrom said.
“For many Israeli’s there has been a feeling that Netanyahu has been distracted, he has been so focused on his domestic political battles, his legal battles, over the past few years.”
This is a “moment of national unity” as the country gears up for war, but once it ends “I suspect there will be a long period of recriminations”, he says.