Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because he failed to ensure national security on October 7 and is trying to avoid being ousted from office, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview with Politico. “Bibi has worked all his life under the false pretense that he is Mr. Security. He is Mr. Stupid,” he also stated. He also criticized other plans of the Israeli government’s progress in the war with Hamas.
“Netanyahu has shrunk. He is emotionally devastated, that’s for sure. Something terrible has happened to him,” Olmert said, adding that “every minute he is prime minister he is a danger to Israel.” “I’m serious. I’m sure the Americans understand that things are wrong,” the former Israeli prime minister also said.
According to him, Netanyahu erred in matters of national security when he did not provide security before the murderous attacks by Hamas on October 7. Olmert also criticized Netanyahu’s strategic plan to maintain control over the post-war Gaza Strip. According to him, it amounts to a return to 2005, when Israel exercised military rule over this coastal enclave. “It is not in Israel’s interest to oversee the security of Gaza,” Olmert said. “It is in our interest to be able to defend ourselves in a different way than before the October 7 attack. But to control Gaza again? No,” he added.
Because of the failure of Netanyahu and his ministers to outline a realistic plan for the administration of Gaza after the rise of Hamas, according to Olmert, even Israel’s Western allies are running out of patience. Netanyahu’s popularity has fallen significantly even in Israel itself, according to its residents, Netanyahu’s failure to prevent the attack on Hamas revealed a “leadership debacle”, 44 percent of respondents in an Israeli public opinion poll said that Netanyahu was responsible for what happened on October 7.
The next phase of fighting
“Planning for the next phase is completely inadequate,” Olmert complains. “What are we going to do? Well, according to Netanyahu, we’re going to break and break Hamas. And I think we can do it, by the way. So what’s the next step? What are we going to do next? Is anyone thinking about that? We have to present to the international community our idea of the end game, ” he added.
“If Israel presented a serious proposal for two-state negotiations, it would have a dramatic impact on the international community. It would give us more space and time to achieve the objectives of our military operations – it would have an impact on public opinion in Western countries and in the media . It would show that Israel is determined to do something that it has not wanted to do for the last 15 years. So something positive could come out of all this. But we’re not doing it and nobody wants to think about it. Nobody wants to elaborate. Nobody wants to to say,” Olmert said.
Olmert suggested that basically the problem now is that Netanyahu is “in a state of nervous breakdown.” “I’m not exaggerating. He’s being pushed from all sides and seems focused on not being thrown out of office the day the war ends, and maybe even sooner,” he said. “One expects him now to talk about the second and third phase. It is not certain that he will survive this phase politically,” added Olmert.
Ehud Olmert headed Israel from 2006 to 2009 as the leader of the liberal Kadima party. After the end of his prime ministership, he served a prison sentence for accepting bribes and obstructing the administration of justice while he was mayor of Jerusalem and minister of trade. He was praised across the political spectrum for stepping down as the party leader as the investigation intensified, saying in his resignation speech that he was “proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like any other citizen”.