Netanyahu Disbands War Cabinet Amid Deepening Rifts Over Gaza Strategy

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 17, 2024 - 04:00 PM

On Monday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his war cabinet, which comes closely on the heels of leading opposition figure Benny Gantz quitting it last week.

National Unity party lawmaker Gadi Eisenkot, who has accused Netanyahu of allowing himself to be bullied by the far-right over Gaza strategy, had also resigned. The high-level resignations have exacerbated the deep divide over war strategy against Hamas and the question of the remaining hostages.

Image via JNS

Netanyahu has been cited by Haaretz as saying he'll now consult a limited "forum" for sensitive wartime decisions. And The New York Times cited an Israeli official who suggested that "Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to disband the body — which was communicated to ministers at a wider cabinet meeting on Sunday — was largely symbolic given that Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot had already resigned."

Dissolving the war cabinet could also be a way to prevent hardliners like the minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir from pressuring and forcing their way in.

Ben-Gvir had quickly demanded to join the wartime decision-making body within hours of Gantz quitting, writing on X that it was "about time to take brave decisions, achieve true deterrence, and bring true safety to the residents of the south, north, and all of Israel."

Netanyahu has meanwhile continued to be dogged by accusations that he's intentionally prolonging the Gaza operation for the sake of his own political survival and interests. For example the aforementioned lawmaker Eisenkot had this to say to Israeli media:

In previous years, Netanyahu would have made decisions “based purely on security considerations,” Eisenkot said. “Here, I saw decisions being made entirely differently, with delays… with antics.”

“Even the story of the invasion of Rafah was simmering away for three months,” he continued. “Over on their [media] channels, they report that Gadi Eisenkot and Benny Gantz are the ones who [prevented] the attack on Rafah, that the prime minister is determined and wants to proceed in Rafah, only we’re the ones holding him back.

“On the contrary,” Eisenkot said, accusing the prime minister of stretching out the process “like chewing gum.”

Eisenkot had some interesting things to say about Ben-Gvir's surprising level of influence even while not holding a seat within the war cabinet. "...Ben Gvir, is the most influential minister," he said, describing that this was in a highly negative sense (weighing heavily over Netanyahu's calculations and how to react).

"Even though he is not part of the war cabinet, he’s there in spirit. We wanted to invade Rafah in February, and Netanyahu dragged out the decision until May," Eisenkot added. Meanwhile, large and at times violent protests have continued raging on Tel Aviv's streets, with many hostage victims' families demanding that Netanyahu step down. They have been outraged that no Hamas prisoner exchange deal has materialized for the rest of the captives held in the Gaza Strip.