DECEMBER 9, 2022
Israel News

Opposition leader threatens to topple Israeli govt if captive release deal rejected

Opposition leader threatens to topple Israeli govt if captive release deal rejected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “will not have the right to continue to exist” if it rejects a prisoner exchange and ceasefire deal with Hamas, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said on 28 April.

“Entering Rafah is important in the long struggle against Hamas. The return of our abductees, abandoned by the 7.10 government, is urgent and of far greater importance,” he wrote on X.

“If a responsible outline is reached for the return of the abductees with the backing of the entire security system, which does not involve the end of the war, and the ministers who led the government on 7.10 prevent it – the government will not have the right to continue to exist and lead the campaign,” he continued.

Hamas has insisted that any deal must permanently end the war, while Israeli leaders, including Gantz, have demanded any ceasefire be only temporary. They wish to continue the war against Gaza, allegedly to destroy Hamas, following any successful return of Israeli captives held by the Palestinian resistance group.

Intense negotiations are ongoing between Israel and Hamas, with Israeli negotiators using the threat of a wide-scale assault on Rafah as leverage to pressure Hamas to accept a deal that does not meet its demands.

Western nations and aid groups have warned an Israeli ground assault on Gaza would cause mass civilian casualties.

In addition to seeking a permanent end to the war, the resistance movement is seeking an Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza, the return of over a million displaced people to their homes in northern Gaza, and the release of at least hundreds of the Palestinians held captive in Israeli prisons.

Gantz, a liberal opposition politician, joined Netanyahu’s emergency war cabinet following the outbreak of war on 7 October.

Netanyahu, who insists an invasion of Rafah is necessary and imminent, faces pressure from the other side of Israel’s political spectrum to reject a ceasefire.

Middle East Monitor noted that right-wing Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has threatened to undermine Netanyahu’s coalition government if he accepts an Egyptian proposal for a Gaza ceasefire.

Fellow religious settler and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened on Saturday to withdraw from Netanyahu’s government “if Rafah is not invaded.”

Both Smotrich and Ben Gvir have prioritized waging war on Gaza at the expense of winning the return of Israelis held captive by Hamas. Smotrich and Ben Gvir wish to ethnically cleanse Gaza and build Jewish settlements in the place of the displaced indigenous population.

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