Middle east

Final Warning to Netanyahu: War Government Turns Against the Prime Minister Over Gaza

Minister without portfolio Benny Gantz, a senior member of Israel’s war government, issued a final warning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday. He stated that his party would leave the government if the cabinet did not approve a strategy for Gaza’s future post-war by June 8, according to the American website “Axios.”

Destabilizing Netanyahu‘s Government

According to the American website, Gantz’s speech has further destabilized the emergency government formed after the Hamas attack on October 7, deepening the rifts within the war government.

The speech came just days after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant publicly accused Netanyahu of reluctance to formulate a post-war strategy.

In his speech, Gantz claimed that an extremist minority had taken over the decision-making process and was “leading Israel into a wall.”

He referred to Netanyahu’s political allies and far-right nationalist ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

Gantz accused Netanyahu of being driven by personal and political considerations rather than the country’s national security interests.

He stated that the cabinet needed to formulate a strategy that prioritized the release of hostages held by Hamas, focusing only afterward on toppling Hamas’s rule in Gaza.

Gantz emphasized that the strategy should include the formation of an American-European-Arab-Palestinian directorate responsible for civil administration in Gaza, excluding Hamas and not under the authority of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He also stated that another key element of the strategy should be the normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia, which the Biden administration is working on.

Final Warning

According to the American website, instead of issuing a final warning to Hamas, Gantz gave a final warning to the Prime Minister, as Netanyahu’s office stated in a press release. Netanyahu’s office claimed that Gantz’s ultimatum meant Israel’s defeat, abandoning most hostages, Hamas remaining in Gaza, and the formation of a Palestinian state.

For the first time, Netanyahu‘s statement explicitly rejected the Saudi demand for an irrevocable and time-bound Israeli commitment toward establishing a Palestinian state in exchange for the normalization agreement.

The political crisis in Israel erupted one day before White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia to hold separate meetings with Netanyahu and Gantz.

Sullivan’s talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday focused on the “big deal” the Biden administration aims to achieve with Saudi Arabia, including a historic peace agreement between the kingdom and Israel.

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