Israeli war cabinet member threatens to quit if Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't change tack on Gaza

19 May 2024, 07:38

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has threatened to quit the government
Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has threatened to quit the government. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A member of Israel's three-person war Cabinet has threatened to quit if Benjamin Netanyahu does not adopt a fresh plan on Gaza.

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Benny Gantz has set out a six point plan for his prime minister that includes returning the hostages, ending the Hamas regime, establishing a Gaza civilian administration and demilitarising the territory.

He said he would quit the government if it did not adopt the plan by June 8.

The departure of Mr Gantz, a centrist, could leave Mr Netanyahu more beholden to elements on the right wing of his government.

It comes as Israel continues to battle Hamas, seven months into the war. Its other objective - recovering the hostages taken by the terrorist group on October 7 - is also incomplete.

Read more: 'No father would want to hear this': Shani Louk's family speak out after Nova festival victim's body discovered in Gaza

Read more: Gaza ceasefire possible 'tomorrow' if Hamas frees hostages, says Joe Biden

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz. Picture: Getty

Mr Gantz also wants to normalise relations with Saudi Arabia, which was said to be on the cards before the war began.

He warned Mr Netanyahu: "If you choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation to the abyss - we will be forced to quit the government."

Mr Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and bring all the hostages back.

But he has also faced warnings from the US that it will scale back its support over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Israel's campaign in Gaza since the attack has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

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It comes after the bodies of four Israelis taken by Hamas on October 7 were recovered by the IDF.

The remains of Ron Benjamin, 53, were found on Saturday.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Mr Benjamin was "brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Mefalsim Intersection, and his body was kidnapped to Gaza".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: Alamy

On Friday, troops also discovered Shani Louk, Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.

Mr Netanyahu called the deaths "heartbreaking", saying: "We will return all of our hostages, both the living and the dead."

Footage of German-Israeli Ms Louk, 22, being paraded about on the back of a truck was widely circulated on social media after she was kidnapped.

In a statement following the announcement, her father, Nissim Louk, said: "No father would want to hear this news.

"We knew that she was murdered. Today the army officers came to our house and told us the news.

"They showed us pictures of Shani who still looked great."

He added: "Her happy life was cut short. She was a special person."

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