Frustrated Israeli north plans to secede into ‘State of Galilee’

The Cradle, May 9, 2024 ─ 

The heads of settler communities in northern Israel plan to announce a secession from the State of Israel in the coming days, in protest against the Israeli government’s inaction in returning the tens of thousands of settlers who have been displaced from the Galilee by Hezbollah.

The decision came at a recent meeting of the Conflict Zone Forum and is expected to be formally announced on 15 May, Independence Day for Israelis and Nakba Day for Palestinians. 

“It was decided to announce on Independence Day the establishment of the State of Galilee and unilateral disengagement from the State of Israel. This extreme step will be accompanied by additional actions,” according to a 9 May report by Hebrew news outlet Walla

Walla reports that the “straw that broke [the camel’s back]” was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to war cabinet member Benny Gantz’s statement at a recent meeting. According to Channel 12, Gantz urged that settlers displaced from the north be returned to their homes by 1 September, with Netanyahu saying, “What will happen if they return a few months after 1 September,” signaling that he is in no rush to deal with the situation.

The premier’s comment triggered a wave of anger among displaced residents of the north and the heads of settler communities. Upper Galilee Regional Council head Giora Zaltz told Channel 12 that he is working to return the settlers even without government approval. 

“We can’t wait for a decision from someone who never decides,” he said, referring to Netanyahu.

In early April, the representatives of settler communities in the Conflict Zone Forum had posted advertisements inviting proposals “to be submitted for an alternative government in Israel.” 

“The full details of the tender can be found in the hotels and the accommodation apartments of the displaced throughout the country, with the business owners who collapsed in the north, in the dead tourism areas in the north, and in the offices of the authorities in the north.”

Displaced settlers of the north currently residing in Haifa and Jerusalem have organized protests for 16 May. 

The organizers plan to protest under the banner: “No to a political agreement with Hezbollah” and call for the “restoration of security through military action … This is a battle that we must fight together … a fight for our freedom, our honor and the future of our children. We the people of the north will not be silent.”

Thousands are expected to participate in the protests. 

On 8 May, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned troops during a meeting that a “hot summer” awaits them, hinting at what Gallant and other officials have been warning about for months – an escalation of military operations against Lebanon. 

The warning came the same day that an Israeli soldier was killed by a Hezbollah attack on Israel’s Al-Malikiya military site. The soldier was the third to be killed by Hezbollah since Monday. 

On Sunday, dozens of Hezbollah rockets struck the Kiryat Shmona settlement. The attack was carried out in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed an entire Lebanese family the day before. 

“If there is no clear [government] decision [to deal with the threat], the Kaplan Street (Tel Aviv) protests will be child’s play compared to what we are planning soon,” said Avichai Stern, mayor of Kiryat Shmona, after the rocket attack. 

Hezbollah began daily operations against Israeli military sites near the Lebanese border on 8 October in solidarity with Gaza and in support of the Palestinian resistance. These operations have recently intensified, including a surge in precise drone attacks on military sites, command headquarters, and troop gatherings. 

Tens of thousands of settlers from the north are dispersed across Israel as a result. They have repeatedly complained since the start of the war that Netanyahu’s government has done little to accommodate them and have shown significant frustration over the Israeli army’s failure to push Hezbollah away from the border.

The US and France have proposed de-escalation initiatives aimed at ending the fighting and pressuring the resistance group to withdraw from the border region. Yet the initiatives have failed, and Hezbollah has repeatedly vowed to continue attacking Israel until the war in Gaza is brought to an end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *