Israeli minister Benny Gantz resigns from Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government

Israeli minister Benny Gantz resigns from Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government

By abc.net.au
Monday 10/06/2024
Israeli minister Benny Gantz addresses the media after withdrawing his party from Israel's governing coalition.(Reuters: Nir Elias)

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has resigned from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government over his handling of the war in Gaza.

In a televised address, Mr Gantz said Mr Netanyahu was "preventing us from advancing toward true victory".

"That is why we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart but with full confidence."

Mr Gantz has repeatedly clashed with Mr Netanyahu over post-war plans for Gaza.

He has called on Mr Netanyahu to set a date for elections.

Earlier Mr Netanyahu posted on social media platform X, appealing to Benny Gantz not to leave the government.

"Benny, this is not the time to abandon the battle — this is the time to join forces," he wrote.

Benny Gantz is the leader of the centrist National Unity alliance.

He joined a unity government led by Benjamin Netanyahu shortly after the October 7 attack by Hamas, saying it was in the national interest.

Mr Gantz then joined Mr Netanyahu's war cabinet.

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He is also a former army commander and defence minister in the previous government.

His decision to leave the government has been expected for some time.

Last month, Mr Gantz presented Mr Netanyahu with a June 8 deadline to come up with a clear strategy for post-war Gaza.

Mr Gantz delayed his speech by a day, after four Israeli hostages were rescued from Gaza on Saturday.

Political polls have shown Benny Gantz to be the most formidable rival to Mr Netanyahu, whose political image has taken a beating following the October 7 attacks.

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The departure of Benny Gantz's centrist party does not pose an immediate threat to Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition, which controls 64 of parliament's 120 seats.

But it could have a serious impact.

It means Mr Netanyahu has lost the backing of a centrist bloc that has helped broaden support for his far-right government in Israel and abroad.

Mr Netanyahu will now have to rely more heavily on the political backing of ultra-nationalist parties, which have called for a complete Israeli occupation of Gaza.

The embattled leader has come under increasing pressure to secure the release of the remaining hostages, eight months into the war.

Mr Gantz's exit might also indicate prospects of a ceasefire are limited.

Source : ABC.AU

Original story : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-06-10/israeli-minister-benny-gantz-resigns-from-netanyahu-government/103957800

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