June 13, 2024

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Israeli war cabinet member Gantz said he would resign without a new war plan

Israeli war cabinet member Gantz said he would resign without a new war plan

DEIR BALAH (Gaza Strip) – Benny Gantz, the centrist member of Israel’s three-member war cabinet, threatened on Saturday to resign from the government if it does not adopt a new war plan within three weeks. And in Gaza, a move that would make Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more dependent on his far-right allies.

His announcement exacerbates the division within the Israeli leadership after more than seven months of war in which Israel has not yet achieved its stated goals of dismantling Hamas and returning dozens of hostages who were kidnapped in the October 7 attack.

Gantz presented a six-point plan that includes the return of dozens of hostages, ending Hamas’ rule, disarmament in the Gaza Strip, and establishing an international administration for civil affairs. It also supports efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

He says if it is not approved by June 8, he will resign from the government. “If you choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation into the abyss – we will be forced to leave the government,” he said.

Gantz, a popular politician and longtime political rival of Netanyahu, joined his coalition and war cabinet in the early days of the war.

The departure of the former military chief of staff and defense minister would leave Netanyahu even more beholden to his far-right allies who have taken a hard line in negotiations over a ceasefire and hostage release, and who believe Israel should occupy Gaza and rebuild the Jews. settlements there.

Gantz spoke days after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant, the third member of the war cabinet, said: He said publicly He has repeatedly called on the Cabinet to decide on a post-war vision for Gaza that would see the establishment of a new Palestinian civilian leadership.

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Netanyahu is under increasing pressure on multiple fronts. The hardliners in his government want the military attack on the city of Rafah, located in the far south of the Gaza Strip, to move forward with the aim of crushing Hamas. The United States and others, its biggest ally, warned against attacking the city where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have taken refuge – and hundreds of thousands have now fled – and they did. He threatened To reduce support for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to discuss the war, and is scheduled to meet on Sunday with Netanyahu. Who announced And that Israel will “stand alone” if necessary.

Many Israelis, who are concerned about the hostages and accuse Netanyahu of putting political interests above all else, want an agreement to stop the fighting and release them. There was new frustration on Friday when the army announced that its forces were in Gaza The bodies of three hostages were found Hamas killed him in the October 7 attack. The discovery of the body of the fourth hostage was announced on Saturday.

Recent talks aimed at a ceasefire, brokered by Qatar, the United States and Egypt, did not achieve much. The post-war vision is also uncertain.

The war began after an October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and took 250 hostage. Israel says that about 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza, along with the bodies of about 30 others.

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Local health officials say the Israeli attack killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza, while hundreds more were killed in the occupied West Bank.


Jeffrey reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writer Sam Mednick in Tel Aviv contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war on https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war