Spread the love

How will Netanyahu's decision affect ceasefire efforts?

Photo: Jack Guez Agence France-Presse Israeli soldiers patrol south of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on June 13.

Julia Frankel – Associated Press and Jack Jeffrey – Associated Press in Jerusalem

Published yesterday at 7:27 p.m.

  • Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his war cabinet on Monday.

A decision which consolidates its influence on the war between Israel and Hamas and which probably diminishes the chances of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in the near future.

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

Major war policies will now be approved only by the cabinet of Security Council, a broader body dominated by hard-liners who oppose the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal and instead want to continue the war.

The Israeli prime minister is expected to consult his close allies on certain decisions in ad hoc meetings, an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

These closed-door meetings could lessen the influence of hard-liners. But Mr. Netanyahu himself has shown little enthusiasm for the ceasefire plan. The fact that he relies on the entire security cabinet could allow him to delay making a decision.

Here is some essential information about the cabinet of war and on the consequences of its dissolution on the prospects of a ceasefire:

Why did Mr. Gantz joined then left the war cabinet ?

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

At the time, Mr. Gantz demanded that a small decision-making body direct the war in order to sideline members government.

But he left the cabinet earlier this month, after months of growing tensions over Israel's strategy in Gaza.

He said he was fed up with the lack of progress in repatriating dozens of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. He accused Mr Netanyahu of prolonging the war to avoid new elections and a corruption trial. He asked the prime minister to approve a plan that would, among other things, rescue the hostages and end Hamas' rule in Gaza.

When Mr. Netanyahu did not express support for the plan, Mr. Gantz announced his departure. He asserted that the “fateful strategic decisions” taken within the cabinet were met with “hesitation and procrastination due to political considerations.”

How Israel's wartime policies are likely to be changed?

The dissolution of the war cabinet only further alienates M . Netanyahu makes centrist politicians more open to ceasefire deal with Hamas.

Months of negotiations have failed to find common ground between Hamas and Israeli leaders. Israel and Hamas have been reluctant to fully endorse a U.S.-backed plan that would return the hostages, pave the way for an end to the war and begin an effort to rebuild the decimated territory.

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

After Mr. Gantz left office, the ultranationalist Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, asked to be part of a new war cabinet. Monday's decision could help keep Mr. Ben-Gvir at bay, but it cannot rule him out completely.

It also gives Mr. Netanyahu the opportunity to drag out the war to stay in power. His critics accuse him of procrastinating because ending the war would mean an investigation into government failures on October 7 and increase the likelihood of new elections at a time when the prime minister's popularity is low.

“This means he will make all decisions himself or with people he trusts and who do not challenge him. And his interest is to have a slow-attrition war,” argued Gideon Rahat, chair of the political science department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116