Gantz demands Gaza day-after plan by June 8, threatens to quit Netanyahu’s war cabinet


Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz demanded on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commit to an agreed vision for the Gaza conflict that would include stipulating who might rule the territory after the war with Hamas.

Gantz told a press conference he wanted the war cabinet to form a six-point plan by June 8. If his expectations are not met, he said, he will withdraw his centrist party from the conservative premier’s broadened emergency coalition.

Gantz, a retired top Israeli general who opinion polls show is Netanyahu’s most formidable political rival, gave no date for the prospective walkout but his challenge could increase strains on an increasingly unwieldy wartime government.

Netanyahu appears outflanked in his own inner war cabinet, where he, Gantz and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant alone have votes. On Wednesday, Gallant demanded clarity on post-war plans and for Netanyahu to forswear any military reoccupation of Gaza.

If the prime minister were to do that, he would risk angering ultra-nationalist coalition parties that have called for Gaza to be annexed and settled. Losing them could topple Netanyahu, who before the war failed to enlist more centrist partners, given his trial on corruption charges he denies.

“Personal and political considerations have begun to penetrate the Holy of Holies of Israel’s national security,” Gantz said. “A small minority has seized the bridge of the Israeli ship and is piloting it toward the rocky shoal.”

Gantz said his proposed six-point plan would include bringing a temporary U.S.-European-Arab-Palestinian system of civil administration for Gaza while Israel retains security control.

It would also institute equitable national service for all Israelis, including ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are now exempted from the military draft and have two parties in Netanyahu’s coalition determined to preserve the waiver.

Gantz leads Netanyahu forPM in new poll

In the survey, 523 respondents participated, constituting a representative sample of the adult population in the State of Israel, aged 18 and over, both Jews and Arabs, Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday. The maximum sampling error in the survey is 4.4%, according to the report.

The results of the survey, published by Maariv, show Benny Gantz leading Benjamin Netanyahu for the prime ministership with 45% support compared to 35%, with the gap narrowing slightly from 12% in the previous poll to 10% this time. Among Likud voters, Gantz reached 17%, Netanyahu reached 69%, and 14% didn’t know who to vote for. Among Yesh Atid voters, Gantz gained 83% of respondents, Netanyahu did not receive any votes among respondents, and 17% didn’t know who to vote for. Among National Unity supporters, Gantz gained 85% of the votes, Netanyahu gained 5%, and 9% of respondents remained undecided.

Reuters/ JP