Gantz says far-right attacks on anti-Netanyahu protesters risk civil war in Israel

Gantz says far-right attacks on anti-Netanyahu protesters risk civil war in Israel
Israel has been rocked by protests against Netanyahu.
2 min read
30 July, 2020
Gantz has repeatedly clashed with Netanyahu [Getty]
Benny Gantz, the head of Israel's opposition Blue and White Party, warned that recent far-right assaults on anti-Benjamin Netanyahu protesters risk igniting a civil war.

Gantz, who is also alternate prime minister, called for an easing of tensions after another violent attack took place on Tuesday against an anti-Netanyahu demonstration.

Pro-government gangs have been blamed for the recent violence.

"Violence against protesters could lead to civil war, we must stop this hate and incitement, neither side can engage in this hatred of the other," said Gantz according to Israeli media.

Although he blamed both extremes of the political divide for violence, his comments appeared directed at supporters of Netanyahu.

"Rabin was not murdered because of hatred on the left."

It comes as protests against Netanyahu over corruption allegations and the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis gather pace.

A violent attack on a Tuesday night protest by a right-wing mob left five people in hospital and led to fears of an increasingly polarised and violent political divide in Israel.

Netanyahu himself called on police to investigate the incident.

"The investigation into the events in Tel Aviv is underway. I expect the police to get to the truth of the matter and carry out justice for those responsible," he wrote on Facebook.

Israeli police said they have arrested three people in connection to the attack, Haaretz reported.

"We will allow protests any time and any place but we will not permit violence or vandalism," the Israeli police said, according to the Israeli daily.

It is not the first time Gantz has claimed that Netanyahu, who is now his partner in government, is taking Israel down a path of civil strife.

In November, he called on Netanyahu's Likud Party to oust the leader after controversial remarks by the premier.

"Leaders of the Likud (party), now is the time to make your voices heard," Gantz said, according to Israeli media.

"The right in recent in weeks are left no room for no doubt, Netanyahu is threatening a civil war with his call of incitement. I stand here in front of you in the name of many people on the right and left."

Netanyahu had claimed that corruption charges against him are a "coup" attempt by the judiciary and police.

Since then, the two party leaders have agreed to a power sharing deal, where Gantz will take power after Netanyahu.

Attacks against Palestinian protesters by Israeli police have also taken place in recent months.

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