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Gantz resigns from war cabinet over Gaza strategy

Benny Gantz, Israel's war cabinet minister, demands new elections amid dispute with Netanyahu


Benny Gantz, Israel's war cabinet minister, announced his resignation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government, citing dissatisfaction with Netanyahu’s approach to the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Gantz described his decision as “complex and painful” but necessary due to Netanyahu's actions, which he claimed were “preventing real victory” over the militant group. Gantz made his announcement during a televised news conference on Sunday, expressing his departure "with a heavy heart but with full confidence."

He urged Netanyahu to set an election date, arguing that the Prime Minister was making “total victory impossible” and emphasized that the government should prioritize the return of hostages seized by Hamas over political maneuvering.

In response, Netanyahu stated, "this is not the time to abandon the front," underscoring the ongoing conflict's gravity.

Gantz, a popular former military chief, had previously set a deadline of June 8 for Netanyahu to present a clear post-conflict plan for Gaza. His resignation, though not unexpected, delivers a significant blow to Netanyahu's credibility. Gantz is seen as positioning himself as a potential successor to Netanyahu, calling for elections to be held in October, marking the one-year anniversary of the Hamas attacks that escalated the current conflict.

The war, which began on October 7 following a brutal attack by Hamas that left 1,200 Israelis dead and 250 taken hostage, continues to have severe repercussions. Currently, around 120 hostages remain in Gaza, with 43 confirmed dead.

Gantz's resignation, although not immediately threatening the governing coalition, impacts Netanyahu’s political landscape. The centrist bloc's exit removes a layer of broader support, forcing Netanyahu to depend more on ultra-nationalist parties, which have previously strained relations with Washington and now advocate for a full Israeli reoccupation of Gaza.

The war has resulted in the deaths of over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. The latest rescue operation, involving a raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp, resulted in the deaths of three hostages, including a U.S. citizen, according to Hamas.

Gantz’s departure adds to the mounting pressures on Netanyahu, both diplomatically and domestically, as Israel navigates the protracted conflict and its extensive humanitarian toll.

[Source: Sky News]

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