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After notable departures, Israeli PM dissolves war cabinet

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After notable departures, Israeli PM dissolves war cabinet

After centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz and his ally Gadi Eisenkot left, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his six-member war cabinet, as was widely anticipated.
Regarding the conflict with Hamas in Gaza, a government spokeswoman stated that decisions will be made by the larger full cabinet and the pre-existing security cabinet.

Far-right ministers have been clamoring to replace Mr. Gantz since his resignation eight days ago over what he claimed was a lack of battle plan.
Mr. Netanyahu steers clear of a difficult scenario with his coalition partners and foreign friends by abolishing the war cabinet.
According to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokeswoman, the chain of command will remain unaffected.

Few days after the conflict began in October, Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot joined Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition to form a national unity government.

On June 9, the two previous IDF chiefs of staff tendered their resignations, with Mr. Gantz claiming that the prime minister’s leadership was “preventing us from approaching true victory.”
Subsequently, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir claimed to have written to Mr. Netanyahu pleading for his inclusion in the war cabinet.
Rather than appointing new members, Mr. Netanyahu told ministers on Sunday night that he had decided to dissolve the decision-making council.

“The war cabinet was in the coalition agreement with… Benny Gantz at his request,” the prime minister declared. This second branch of government is no longer necessary with Mr. Gantz out of office, Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said at a briefing on Monday.
“The state grants authority to the security cabinet to make decisions together with the full cabinet,” he said.
Some of the matters previously addressed by the war cabinet will now be handled in the 14-member security cabinet, which includes Mr. Ben-Gvir and fellow far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Sensitive issues would be discussed in a “smaller consultation forum,” which was supposed to include Aryeh Deri, the chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. Together with the prime minister, Mr. Gantz and Mr. Eisenkot, the three men made up the war cabinet.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the top spokesman for the IDF, stressed on Monday that these actions will not have an impact on its operations.

“The process and the cabinet members are being modified. We understand the chain of command and we have the echelon. Following the chain of command, we are operating. Reportedly, this is a democracy.
In reaction to a historic attack on southern Israel on October 7 that claimed the lives of over 1,200 people and abducted 251 more, the Israeli military began a war in Gaza to destroy Hamas.
Since then, the health ministry of Gaza operated by Hamas has recorded almost 37,340 deaths.

Further indications of strain have emerged in the Israeli government over the past day, with Mr. Netanyahu and his far-right ministers denouncing an IDF decision to implement “tactical pauses in military activity” during the daytime close to the southern Gaza city of Rafah in order to facilitate additional aid deliveries.

The breaks are designed to enable truckers to pick up supplies from the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom border crossing, which is southeast of Rafah, and then proceed securely to the primary north-south route inside Gaza. Because Israel started an operation in Rafah last month, supplies have been held back at the crossing site.
But Mr. Ben-Gvir blasted the approach as naive, and Israeli media reported Mr. Netanyahu as saying, “We have a country with an army, not an army with a country.”
According to the IDF, it was executing directives from political officials to ensure that humanitarian supplies reached Gaza.

Confusing what was really going on on the ground, it also stated that the pauses did not indicate the combat in southern Gaza would cease.
According to the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), combat was still going on in Rafah and other southern areas on Monday and that “operationally nothing has changed yet.”

The IDF, meantime, declared that its forces were “continuing intelligence-based, targeted operations in the area of Rafah.” In the Tal al-Sultan region, it was stated, they had found weapons, destroyed explosive-rigged buildings, and killed “several terrorists.”

Sixty-five thousand Palestinians, or fewer than five percent of the 1.4 million who sought sanctuary in Rafah before the IDF launched what it called a limited operation to drive out Hamas fighters and destroy infrastructure utilized by the Palestinian armed group, are still estimated to be there, according to Unrwa.
The Israeli military has issued fresh warnings that the lower-level battle with the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah is now threatening to escalate into a wider war, with little indication of movement towards a complete ceasefire in Gaza.

After a recent spike of gunfire, a senior US official has returned to the area in an attempt to ease tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border.

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