Wanted: A Plan

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Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz threatened to resign from Israel’s war cabinet if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not come up with a long-term plan for the war with Hamas or the future of the Gaza Strip by next month, an announcement that underscored the internal and external pressures the Israeli leader is under eight months into the conflict, the Financial Times reported.

On Saturday, Gantz called on the government to agree to a six-point plan, including the installation of an international “civilian governance mechanism” for Gaza’s post-war governance, by June 8.

The plan also includes the demilitarization of the Palestinian enclave, the return of the approximately 130 remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza, and steps toward normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia.

Gantz, a former general, who has served in various high-level positions in the government over the past few years, vowed to withdraw his centrist National Unity party from the war cabinet if his demands waere not met.

He joined the war cabinet shortly after Hamas and its allies launched an attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed around 1,200 people and saw more than 240 people taken hostage.

Israel responded by launching a military campaign in Gaza to decisively defeat Hamas and free the hostages. But since then, divisions have appeared within Netanyahu’s circle amid criticism at home and from abroad – including Israel’s main ally the United States – over Israel’s operations, the humanitarian crisis in the territory and the lack of a plan for “the day after.”

Gantz’s comments came a few days after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant criticized Netanyahu for lacking a proper post-war plan for Gaza and questioned if Israel intends to rule the territory militarily, Politico noted.

In response, Netanyahu admonished Gantz’s ultimatum, calling his demands nothing more than “washed-up words” that would mean “defeat for Israel.” He also rejected Gallant’s accusations that he was putting personal interests ahead of the war, a widespread criticism expressed domestically and internationally.

Political analysts said the war cabinet has not appeared to have come up with a proper post-war plan, while pointing to the differing visions among cabinet members, the Atlantic wrote.

They added that while Gantz’s departure will not impact Israel’s coalition government, it will force the prime minister to rely more on his far-right political allies.

Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have urged him to take a more aggressive approach to the war, including re-establishing Jewish settlements in Gaza – considered illegal by most of the international community – once the war is over.

Netanyahu’s critics have said that the prime minister’s decision-making during the conflict has been influenced by his desire to maintain the five-party coalition, which would collapse if Ben-Gvir and Smotrich left.

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