July 14, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas: Netanyahu dissolves the war government. What you need to know

The war between Israel and Hamas: Netanyahu dissolves the war government.  What you need to know

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He dissolved his war government on Monday, a move that strengthens his influence over the war between Israel and Hamas and is likely to reduce the prospects for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip anytime soon.

Netanyahu announced this move days after his main political rival announced, Benny GantzHe withdrew from the three-member war cabinet. Gantz, a retired general and member of parliament, was widely seen as a more moderate voice.

Key war policies will now be approved only by Netanyahu’s security cabinet – a larger body dominated by hard-liners who oppose the US-backed government. Ceasefire proposal And you want to go ahead with the war.

An Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said Netanyahu is expected to consult on some decisions with close allies in ad hoc meetings.

These closed meetings could weaken some of the hardliners’ influence. But Netanyahu himself has not shown much enthusiasm for the ceasefire plan, and his reliance on the full security cabinet could give him cover to prolong the resolution.

Here’s the basic background on the war government, and what its dissolution means for the prospects for a ceasefire:

Why did Gantz join and then withdraw from the war government?

The war cabinet was formed after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 when Gantz, an opposition party leader, joined Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant in a show of unity.

At the time, Gantz demanded that a small decision-making body direct the war in an attempt to marginalize far-right members of Netanyahu’s government.

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But Gantz He left the Cabinet Earlier this month after months of escalating tensions over Israel’s strategy in Gaza.

He said he was tired of the lack of progress in returning dozens of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Netanyahu was accused of prolonging the war To avoid new elections and prosecute corruption. He called on Netanyahu to support a plan that would – among other points – rescue prisoners and end Hamas’ rule in Gaza.

When Netanyahu did not express his support for the plan, Gantz announced his departure. He said that “vital strategic decisions” in the Council of Ministers “are met with hesitation and procrastination due to political considerations.”

How might Israel’s wartime policies change?

Dissolving the war government will only distance Netanyahu from centrist politicians who are more open to a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

Months of ceasefire talks failed to find common ground between Hamas and Israeli leaders. Both Israel and Hamas have been reluctant to fully endorse the US-backed plan that would return the hostages, pave the way for an end to the war, and begin efforts to rebuild the devastated territories.

Netanyahu will now rely on members of his security cabinet, some of whom oppose the ceasefire agreements and have expressed support for the reoccupation of Gaza.

After the departure of Gantz, the extremist Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben GvirHe demanded inclusion in the renewed war cabinet. Monday’s move may help keep Ben Gvir away, but it cannot marginalize him completely.

This move also gives Netanyahu time to prolong the war to remain in power. Netanyahu’s critics accuse him of delaying because ending the war would mean an investigation into the government’s failures on October 7 and raise the possibility of new elections when the prime minister’s popularity is low.

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“This means that he will make all the decisions himself, or with people he trusts who do not challenge him,” said Gideon Rahat, head of the political science department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. , Jerusalem Research Center. “His interest is to fight a slow war of attrition.”