Israeli War Cabinet member issues ultimatum on Gaza, threatens to resign

19 May,2024 05:11 PM IST |  Goghat  |  PTI

Former Israeli defense minister Gantz is demanding that the cabinet lays out a plan for the war against Hamas by June 8

Benjamin Netanyahu. Pic/AFP

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Escalating tensions among Israeli leaders over the ongoing war in Gaza, Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz has threatened to resign from the government if it doesn't adopt a new plan for the war in Gaza within three weeks, CNN reported on Saturday. This move would leave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more reliant on his far-right allies.

Former Israeli defense minister Gantz is demanding that the cabinet lays out a plan for the war against Hamas by June 8. In remarks in the city of Ramat Gan on Saturday night local time, Gantz warned that if his demands are not met, he will withdraw from the government.

He said the plan should eliminate Hamas, bring back the hostages, establish an alternative government in the strip, bring back Israeli residents to the north of Israel, and set up a plan to make progress on normalization with Saudi Arabia, CNN reported.

Gantz said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must choose between "victory and disaster" as he issued the ultimatum.

"If (Netanyahu) choose(s) to lead the nation into the abyss, we will withdraw from the government, turn to the people, and form a government that can bring about a real victory," Gantz said, CNN reported.

Gantz's ultimatum comes days after current Defense Minister Yoav Gallant publicly demanded a post-war plan and warned he would oppose Israeli rule in Gaza -- his most direct statement on the topic. Gallant warned of the consequences of a long-term Israeli military presence in Gaza and called out Netanyahu directly.

Gantz defended Israel's military operations in Rafah, calling the city a "gate" for the re-emergence of Hamas. Gantz said that to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Hamas cannot remain in Gaza and must be cleared from Rafah, CNN reported.

He acknowledged the harmful impact the war is having on civilians but insisted that "decisiveness" is needed.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office has rejected Benny Gantz's threat to leave the government, saying the ultimatum he laid out for the war plan against Hamas would harm Israel.

"The conditions set by Benny Gantz are washed-up words whose meaning is clear: the end of the war and a defeat for Israel, the abandonment of most of the hostages, leaving Hamas intact, and the establishment of a Palestinian state," the office said in a statement.

The office also asked Gantz if he's determined to eliminate the Hamas battalions, oppose the introduction of the Palestinian Authority into Gaza, and oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state - saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to all three, CNN reported.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks that the emergency government is important for achieving all the goals of the war, including the return of all our hostages, and expects Gantz to clarify his positions to the public on these issues," according to the statement.

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