Israeli people must rid themselves of Netanyahu for sake of peace – Mary Kelly

Six months on and what has this deadly conflict in Gaza achieved?

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly is an Irish News columnist and former producer of current affairs output on Radio Ulster and BBC NI political programme Hearts and Minds

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would fight the sanctions with all of his might (Abir Sultan/AP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted growing calls for a ceasefire (Abir Sultan/AP)

The Palestinian man was searching through the rubble of what had been his home, finding the remnants of a US food parcel dropped from the sky in a chaotic airlift.

“Look at this. The Americans have sent us food.” And he turned round to survey the wreckage around him. “They’re also sending the weapons that are killing us.”

Referring to the killing by the IDF of seven foreign aid workers, he wondered aloud why their deaths meant more than the deaths of many thousands of men, women and children in Gaza.

He was right of course.

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli air strike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip (Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP)
Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen targeted by an Israeli air strike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip (Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP)

Earlier last week, The Guardian carried a three-page report on claims by a number of doctors in Gaza that they were treating more and more young children who appeared to have been deliberately targeted by Israeli army snipers. Nine doctors, all but one of them foreign volunteers, said most of the dead and wounded children they treated were hit by shrapnel or burned during the intensive Israeli bombardment, but they also reported treating a steady stream of children with single bullet wounds to the head and chest.

The story was not picked up by any other media outlet. And while the news of the deliberate attack on the three vehicles operated by the World Central Kitchen aid workers was shocking, it is not the only evidence that the IDF is in flagrant breach of international human rights.

It’s not impossible to abhor the actions of Hamas in starting the current conflict. They are a criminal death cult and the worst thing to happen to the Gazan people too. And yes, they should release their hostages. But punishing the entire Gazan population by warfare and starvation is not a proportionate response.

Harsh words from President Biden to Netanyahu are not enough. They can cut off supplying the weaponry being used against the Palestinians in a heartbeat.

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu (right) is ‘determined’ that a ground offensive in Rafah will happen despite misgivings from US president Joe Biden (left) (AP Photo)
Harsh words from President Joe Biden to Benjamin Netanyahu are not enough (AP)

Even the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, is getting increasingly uncomfortable with the regime. Not so his erstwhile colleague, the sacked Home Secretary, Cruella Braverman, who pops up in Israel to offer her support.

You’ll remember she once said it was her “dream” to see refugees on a plane to Rwanda. Now she says Israel is “absolutely not” in breach of international humanitarian law and insisted there was “plenty of food” in Gaza.

Humanitarian aid has been airdropped to Palestinians in Gaza (AP Photo/Mahmoud Essa, File)
Humanitarian aid has been airdropped to starving Palestinians in Gaza (Mahmoud Essa/AP)

Six months on and what has this deadly conflict achieved? Hamas has not been destroyed, but the standing of Israel in the international community has been. It is now a pariah state in the eyes of many.

It’s heartening that Ireland and Spain have led the way in the EU in recognising Palestinian statehood. But when this bloody war ends, the world must stop averting its eyes to the problem and the culpability of Israel in making a bad situation worse by becoming the de-facto jailers of the Palestinian population, allowing hundreds of illegal settlements on Palestinian land and tolerating violent attacks by settlers on local farmers.

Thousands of people took part in a protest against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Tel Aviv on Saturday
Thousands of people take part in a protest against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Tel Aviv (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Revenge for the atrocity of October 7 should not blind Israelis to the need for a lasting solution to the conflict that can only come with recognition of two states.

Netanyahu and his far-right coalition are opposed to such a solution as they don’t want to relinquish control over the occupied West Bank. But they have no coherent strategy beyond rhetoric and continuing the bloodshed. The Israeli people have it in their power to get rid of him. That needs to happen soon for the sake of peace in the region.


I see Belfast City Council has backed dual Irish-English language signs for the new Grand Central Station and environs. I wonder if they could enlist Linda Ervine to improve the bi-lingualism for the Alexa voice assistant, which we increasingly use to play music via Spotify.

A plan for the new Belfast Grand Central Station (Translink/PA)
The plan for the new Belfast Grand Central Station

My gaelgeoir husband asked her to play ‘Ó Riada sa Gaiety’ the other night. “I’m sorry,” she responded. “I’ve tried searching for O’Reilly Spaghetti, but I can’t find anything of that name.”