6/15/2024
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Israel war cabinet minister Benny Gantz quits Netanyahu’s government


Sunday June 9, 2024

Gantz’s departure will not endanger the parliamentary majority in the Knesset held by the ruling right-wing coalition.


Israeli Minister Benny Gantz addresses the media after his ultimatum to withdraw his party from Netanyahu’s emergency government expired, in Ramat Gan, Israel [Nir Elias/Reuters]

Israeli minister Benny Gantz has announced his resignation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency government, withdrawing the only centrist power in the embattled leader’s far-right coalition, amid a months-long assault on Gaza.

“Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing toward true victory. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today, with a heavy heart but with full confidence,” Gantz said at a televised news conference on Sunday.

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He called for early elections, saying “there should be elections that will eventually establish a government that will win the trust of the people and be able to face challenges.”

“I call on Netanyahu: set an agreed election date.”

Gantz last month threatened to leave the emergency government – formed last year to oversee the war on Gaza – if Netanyahu failed to present a post-war plan for the besieged and bombarded Palestinian territory, where Israel is continuing a ground and aerial bombardment campaign that has killed more than 37,000 people since October 7, according to Gaza health officials.

Demonstrations against the Netanyahu-led government are important but must be lawful, Gantz said.

“The protests are important, however, they need to be conducted in a legal manner and they must not encourage hatred. We are not each other’s enemies. Our enemies are outside of our borders,” he told reporters.

“I will be part of a national unity government that includes all centrist parties and only that option will allow us to face all the challenges that stand before us, even with Netanyahu. Like I said, what we need is true and genuine unity and not partial unity.”

Gantz also called on Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant to “do what is right”.

Netanyahu issued a brief statement calling on Gantz not to “abandon the front” but his departure will not endanger the parliamentary majority of 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset held by the ruling right-wing coalition.

Gantz is seen as Netanyahu’s main political rival in Israel. He was a leading figure in the opposition before joining the war cabinet.




 





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