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Updated Jun 17, 2024, 7:36am EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

Netanyahu dissolves Israel’s war cabinet, criticizes IDF for humanitarian pauses in Gaza

Insights from Jewish Insider, The Guardian, Reuters, and Haaretz

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Sheba Tel-HaShomer Medical Centre, in Ramat Gan on June 8, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. Israel said its forces rescued four hostages alive from a Gaza refugee camp on June 8 as it intensified an assault despite scrutiny over a deadly strike on a UN-run school there. The four had been kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival during the October 7 attacks that sparked the war, the army said. JACK GUEZ/Pool via REUTERS
JACK GUEZ/Pool via REUTERS
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved his six-member war cabinet, officials said Monday, a week after the resignation of the centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz.

The Jewish Insider reported that a source said the cabinet was formed as “part of the coalition agreement with Gantz, at his demand. The moment Gantz left, there is no such forum anymore.”

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Gantz exit left ‘no counterbalance’ to Netanyahu

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Source:  
Jewish Insider

Gantz’s departure left Netanyahu with “no counterbalance” in his war cabinet and meant he could no longer say that his decisions over the war in Gaza drew broad-based support, the Jewish Insider noted. With only religious groups left in the coalition, Netanyahu’s Likud party was the only “nominally secular” one remaining in the coalition: Gantz’s departure gave “Netanyahu less political and diplomatic cover to say that Israel’s maneuvers have support from both sides of the aisle.”

Netanyahu has sparred with IDF in recent days

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Source:  
The Guardian, Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces announced Sunday that the army would enact a daily humanitarian pause in Gaza to allow aid into the enclave, a plan that was criticized by Netanyahu, showcasing growing divisions between him and the IDF. “We have a country with an army, not an army with a country,” he said, according to Israeli TV outlets. The war cabinet has had a series of disagreements with the military over how the war has been conducted, and Gantz before his departure argued that Netanyahu did not have an effective strategy in Gaza, Reuters noted.

Israel heading towards war with Hezbollah in Lebanon

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Source:  
Haaretz

Disagreements between cabinet members and with the IDF come as Netanyahu’s government seems to be steering towards a second war front, Haaretz’s military correspondent Amos Harel reported. Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant organization in Lebanon, since the war began — but fighting has intensified in recent days. France and the US are working to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza “before total war breaks out” in the region, he noted, but Israeli officials have criticized those efforts, and accused France of “anti-Israeli” actions. Assessments “that the IDF will fairly easily overcome Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, sound divorced from reality and rely on a false reading of Israeli military strength,” Harel wrote.

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