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Netanyahu rival threatens to quit war cabinet over Gaza strategy

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May 19, 2024

A top political rival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an ultimatum over the country’s Gaza strategy Saturday, threatening to resign from Netanyahu’s war cabinet.

Knesset member Benny Gantz told Netanyahu that he will resign from the cabinet if he does not present a plan for ending the war in Gaza by June 8. Gantz proposed a plan that would see Israel take over security for a demilitarized Gaza Strip, while an interim Palestinian and international government would handle civil issues in the region.

“If you choose to follow the path of zealots and lead the entire nation toward an abyss, we will be forced to leave the government,” Gantz told Netanyahu. “The moment of truth has arrived.”

Gantz is one of just three members in Netanyahu’s war cabinet, with the third being Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

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Gallant launched his own attack against Netanyahu last week, arguing Netanyahu had no meaningful plans for a postwar Gaza. He argued Netanyahu was leaving Israel to either enforce a long-term military occupation of Gaza, or return the region to Hamas control after the war.

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President Biden’s administration has also leaned in on the criticism of Netanyahu. National security adviser Jake Sullivan last week also urged Netanyahu to devise a plan for a post-war Gaza.

Netanyahu has brushed off the attacks, however, arguing his top priority is prosecuting the war against Hamas.

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“There is no alternative to military victory,” Netanyahu said in a public statement. “The attempt to bypass it with this or that claim is simply detached from reality.”

The Biden administration has been openly critical of Israel’s strategy in Gaza, and Biden himself has threatened to withhold military aid if Netanyahu moves forward with an invasion of Rafah, which is believed to be the final Hamas stronghold.

While Israel has increased its troop deployments around Rafah, it has so far carried out only limited operations in the area.

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