Netanyahu policies may turn Israel into apartheid state – former Israeli PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 13, 2016. © Ronen Zvulun
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has accused Benjamin Netanyahu's government of pushing the country into becoming an “apartheid state.” If the government does not “change course,” people will have no choice but to “topple it,” he added.

Barak, 74, who served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001, criticized Netanyahu at the annual Herzliya Conference, which addresses Israel’s national agenda.

He said the current PM and his cabinet's policies are based on a “hidden agenda” designed to make a two-state solution unrealistic. The government, he said, has been lobbying an agenda which "will surely result in a 'one state solution,' which will either be an 'Apartheid State'…. or a 'bi-national state' in which the Jews will become a minority within a couple of generations, and will most likely be in a continuous civil war."

"It is the hidden agenda of the government to prefer (despite its official claims) the 'integrity of the land' over the 'integrity of the people' and continue holding all of the area between the Jordan River and the sea. It necessarily leads to a conflict with Israeli and international law, with civil society and the values of democracy," Barak said on Thursday, according to a conference press-release.

"At the top of Netanyahu's priorities today are not the security of Israel, but a slow and cunning advancement of the one-state solution agenda," the former prime minister concluded.

Barak, who was also minister of defense under Netanyahu from 2009 to 2013, said Israel currently faces “no existential threats” whatsoever.

"The only existential threat to our beloved Israel, which we have dreamed of and fought for, is the one-state agenda. It is by far greater than all of the other threats we have mentioned today."

He said that Netanyahu was deliberately exaggerating dangers from terror groups and regional enemies by comparing them all to Nazi Germany, The Times of Israel reported.

“Hitlerization by the prime minister cheapens the Holocaust. Our situation is grave even without [comparisons to] Hitler.

"I call upon the government to come to its senses and get back on track,” the former military chief concluded.

“If not, all of us, yes, all of us, must get out of our seats and topple it through grassroots demonstrations and the ballot box before it's too late."

Netanyahu has reportedly not taken the criticism too close to heart, accusing Barak of biting him “once a month” to “stay relevant.”

Moshe Ya’alon, who served as defense minister under Netanyahu from 2012 to 2016, also lashed out at the current PM at the Herzilya Conference, accusing him of “scaring the citizens of Israel and giving them the sense that we are on the brink of a second Holocaust.”

“It is a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, because of the perception that if the public is scared, they will forget the everyday challenges they are facing,” he said, according to the Telegraph.

"The leadership of Israel 2016 is busy with inflaming passions and causing fear between Jews and Arabs, between Right and Left and between different ethnic groups in order to survive in power and earn another month or year. The job of leadership is to bring together the people and not to tear it apart, incite and urge attacks," he added.