Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Disbands War Cabinet

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel. Jun 8 2024. (Reuters)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved his war cabinet, an official reported on Monday, shortly after opposition leader Benny Gantz withdrew from the body. Netanyahu is now expected to hold consultations over matters concerning the conflict in Gaza and tensions between Hezbollah with a small group of ministers including Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, who were both in his war cabinet.

The Israeli official claimed Netanyahu would “hold smaller forums on sensitive matters”. Netanyahu originally set up the war cabinet five days after Hamas launched an attack on Israel which killed over 1,000 people to manage and streamline decision-making over Israel’s security challenges. It had five members: Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, opposition leader Benny Gantz, and two observers, Ron Dermer and Gadi Eisenkot.

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s primary political opponent, announced his “complex and painful” decision to withdraw from the war cabinet last week, attributing his withdrawal to Netanyahu’s failure to devise a clear or coherent strategy for the conflict in Gaza and future governance of the Strip. He said “Netanyahu prevents us from moving forward to a real victory” and persistently urged him to hold an election to “not let our people be torn apart”.

Moreover, Gantz has continually accused Netanyahu of prioritising his own personal political considerations ahead of a viable post-war strategy for the Gaza Strip. Gantz expressed his view that “fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations”. Thus, his departure from the body was seen as a significant blow to Netanyahu who had remained keen to emphasize unity and continued cooperation until all strategic objectives were met.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday that the dissolution of the war cabinet did not change the Biden administration’s “fundamental assessment” of the war in Gaza, saying that the US would continue to have “very direct and candid conversations with whatever government is in place.”

Written by Rakan Pharaon

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