by Stephen Lendman
He's made Israel more unfit to live in than any of his predecessors. Palestinians have no rights whatever. Israeli Arabs have few. Most Jews are losing theirs incrementally.
Neoliberal harshness plans destroying Israel's safety net entirely. Budget cuts target housing, healthcare, education, employment and welfare.
Labor rights are eroding. So is public education. Disabled Israelis find it harder than ever to find jobs. Regressive taxes benefit business and wealthy elites. Others least able to afford it face growing burdens.
Poor Israelis are blamed for their own condition. Increasingly they're left on their own sink or swim.
Judicial help is absent. Courts reject petitions against cutbacks in income insurance and benefits for the elderly. Others affecting education and healthcare were denied. Even Israel's High Court is unsympathetic.
Former civil service officials complain. Diminishing social services harm growing numbers of Israelis. Netanyahu prioritizes eliminating them altogether.
The problem borders on grave. It gets little public attention. Waging war on Palestine and threatening Iran matter more.
Israel's most disadvantaged face growing poverty, homelessness, and hunger. Yad Eliezer addresses these problems. It says over 700,000 Israeli children are impoverished. It's many thousands more than that.
The gap between rich and poor increases annually. Depravation accompanies it. Netanyahu cut welfare instead of increasing it to help those most in need.
Ezrat Avot helps poor families. It says growing numbers "are simply not making it. There is a large proportion of society here who are working and don't have enough money for food."
Some are low income workers. Others work part-time or are partially disabled.
Israeli government data say one-fourth of Israelis are impoverished. It's double the OECD average. It's the second highest among OECD countries.
Food insecurity is a major problem. Families worry about getting enough to eat. Others face homelessness. Conditions are getting progressively worse.
Legislation systematically erodes social rights. Business and military priorities let vital social needs go begging.
In 2011, Israel had 442,200 officially poor families. They comprise 1,838,600 people. They include 860,900 children. Israel's total population numbers about 7.5 million.
In October, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said one-third of Israelis risk impoverishment. In the past few years, conditions deteriorated significantly.
In 2000, 27% of Israelis risked impoverishment. In 2010, it was 31%. CBS said compared to EU countries, conditions in Israel are very bad and worsening.
The combination of low wages and rising cost of living affects growing numbers. Soaring home and rental prices top Israeli concerns. Prices are rising exponentially.
In some places like Hadera, they doubled in the past four years. Other than prioritize settlement construction, Netanyahu does nothing to address the problem. Growing numbers of Israelis are being priced out of house and home.
Unlike other parts of Israel's economy, housing is dispersed among many government agencies. They include:
- Interior Ministry planning bodies;
- Housing Ministry and Israel Lands Administration involved in selling property;
- Bank of Israel directed mortgage and lending policy;
- Finance Ministry tax policy; and
- Interior Ministry and Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry labor policies.
Systematic integrated policymaking is absent. Chronic problems affect builders. Slow planning approval creates bottlenecks. They last months or years. Land is in short supply where demand is greatest.
Mass privatization of Israel's economy and government-directed social safety net destruction exacerbate crisis conditions.
Many Israelis can't find affordable housing, feed their families properly, educate them, provide them proper healthcare, and make ends meet overall.
In summer 2011, hundreds of thousands of Israelis protested for social justice. Smaller numbers came out last summer. Energy waned. Conditions haven't changed. Overall they got worse.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Social and Economic Rights Department director, Tali Nir, said most Israelis know problems they face reflect "longstanding and systematic government policy."
Hardline Netanyahu governance toughened them. Doing so violates former social rights. They're disappearing in plain sight. What's most essential is heading for availability only for those who can afford it.
Conditions are grim unless ordinary Israelis force change. Nothing else will work.
Palestinians face much tougher harshness. It's shocking how much they endure with so little support.
On December 5, Electronic Intifada contributor Rami Almeghari suggested Israel's eight terror bombing days included chemical weapons use.
Hassan Doghmosh suffered severe face and neck burns. He's suffering horrendously from their effects. He may never fully recover.
His home was bombed. He has numerous shrapnel wounds. A neck artery was struck. Severe bleeding followed. His upper left eye was injured. He has bad chest and abdomen injuries.
Six-year old Abu Zour is in intensive care. His skull is fractured. Five-year old Nesma Qalajs suffered heart wounds. Normal blood flow is impaired. Another 450 children were injured. Some won't survive. Dozens of others were killed.
Patients report abnormal symptoms. A mother trying to protect her daughter during bombing fainted. She required hospitalization. A man with abdomen and leg injuries was admitted to Nasser hospital with a strange chemical smell.
Burns suggest nonconventional weapons use. They penetrate deeply and turn skin blue. During Cast Lead, Israel used white phosphorous and other terror weapons.
Generals tests new weapons in small and larger-scale conflicts. It's virtually certain illegal ones were used during Pillar of Cloud.
Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said "it appears that Israel used some explosive weapons or ammunition that caused deep burns and deep wounds."
"In most cases of those killed, we have seen that bodies were either torn apart or completely burnt out. Also, many of those injured have had their lower or upper limbs amputated."
At least 50 severely injured Gazans remain hospitalized. Some were transferred to Egypt. Local and international human rights groups are gathering information on injuries sustained.
Experts will have final say on weapons Israel used to terrorize Gazan civilians. Accountability won't follow proof. Nor will grave war crimes be punished. Israel freely gets away with murder and much more.
Overnight, hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed and ransacked 36 Barqa village West Bank homes. These type attacks occur pre-dawn. Dozens occur weekly.
Families are terrorized. One resident said soldiers forced family members in one room. Ransaking destroyed personal belongings. The next day, children didn't go to school. They had no clothes to wear.
One Palestinian said soldiers destroyed all their home's contents. Even livestock was killed. At issue is vengeful disregard for fundamental human rights.
Innocent civilians are assaulted. One observer called what happened payback for Palestine's UN upgrade. An IDF spokeswoman claimed weapons and Hamas affiliated items were found. She lied.
The attack reflected racist occupation harshness. They occur multiple times daily. Media scoundrels report nothing. Imagine the reaction if Palestinians assaulted Jewish communities this way.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers attacked central Hebron civilians. Over 20 Palestinians were hurt. Residents said soldiers tried to detain an on-duty Palestinian police office.
Why wasn't explained. He resisted. Other Palestinian police officers tried to help him. Witnesses said IDF troops fired indiscriminately. Youths threw stones. Soldiers responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire.
Three ambulances were needed to transport wounded Palestinians to a local hospital. Later reports will say other communities were attacked on the same day. So many happen, it's hard keeping track of how many and where.
Worst of all, no one is held accountable. At best, rhetorical hand slaps substitute for meaningful punishment.
Netanyahu and other hardliners believe punishing Palestinians isn't enough. They want real suffering inflicted. It comes in many forms.
In late summer 2011, forced Bedouin evictions began. Thousands in Israeli-controlled Area C were affected. They were ordered to leave. They were threatened with force if they refused.
They were displaced to a regional garbage dump. Their homes were demolished. They had no say. Israel wanted their land for Jewish development.
Most Bedouins were expelled from the Negev in 1948. Some lived on Israeli declared land. Others lived on private Palestinian land.
It doesn't matter. Palestinians Israel wants dispossessed get moved whether or not they agree. Few wish to go. Soldiers and bulldozers have final say.
Twenty Bedouin communities living in the E1 corridor now face likely eviction. Whether or not construction begins, Israel wants them out.
About 2,300 people are affected. They have no say. Israel freely violates their rights. A local Bedouin group hopes EU nations will intervene. Expect little more than rhetorical support.
Around 80% of Bedouins on Jerusalem's eastern periphery are refugees. Israel exiled their families from the Negev. Since Israel's occupation began, their rights have been repeatedly comprised.
They're moved at the whim of Israeli authorities. They're prevented from building permanent housing or connecting to essential infrastructure.
They're dispossessed on their own with no rights. Netanyahu enforced harshness inflicts greater punishment. Much goes on out of sight and mind.
Most Israelis don't know or care. Life in Occupied Palestine is harsh. Under Netanyahu, it's cruel, unjust and ruthless.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.