Updated June 10th, 2024 at 08:40 IST

Gantz Exits Coalition, Accuses Netanyahu of Hindering Victory Over Hamas

This move is expected to destabilize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, which, despite the departure, retains a 64-member majority.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Benny Gantz | Image:AP
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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on Sunday that his party is withdrawing from the emergency government formed after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. This move is expected to destabilize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, which, despite the departure, retains a 64-member majority in the Knesset.

Gantz's exit comes amid ongoing war in Gaza and critical hostage and ceasefire negotiations. His departure is seen as a significant blow to Netanyahu's administration, which now faces increased pressure from the United States and the international community. Gantz, considered a moderate by the Biden administration and many Western and Arab governments, has been a member of Netanyahu's war cabinet for eight months.

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Here is what Gantz said

"Netanyahu prevents us from getting a real victory. This is why we are leaving the government with a heavy heart but a full heart," Gantz declared in his speech. He criticized Netanyahu's promise of total victory against Hamas as hollow and called for prioritizing the release of hostages over political survival. "Israelis deserve a real victory that puts the release of the hostages above political survival," he added.

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Gantz's departure signals a shift in the government's dynamics, with ultranationalist ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich likely to exert more influence. This shift is expected to push Netanyahu towards a harder stance in the war in Gaza and potential escalations against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Gantz wants early elections

In his speech, Gantz called for early elections to be held this fall and urged party leaders to back him in this effort. "A real unity government will be formed," he asserted. Gantz, along with two other cabinet members from his party, submitted resignation letters to Netanyahu, which will take effect in 48 hours.

Gantz also expressed his support for the hostage deal proposal approved by the war cabinet and advocated by President Biden. "I demand Netanyahu to stand clearly behind it and do everything in order to make it happen," he stated. Furthermore, Gantz called for the establishment of a national commission of inquiry into the October 7 events as soon as possible.

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Published June 10th, 2024 at 08:40 IST