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Netanyahu Faces Leadership Crisis as War Cabinet Ends

Daniel Kim Views  

Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally dissolved the wartime cabinet. This was a move expected following the resignation of Benny Gantz, the centrist leader who had been calling for a ceasefire with Hamas who withdrew from the cabinet after being disappointed with Netanyahu’s sway by hardliners.

On June 17, the wartime cabinet that was formed eight months ago was dissolved amidst a visit by Amos Hochstein, a U.S. envoy, to Israel.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and the Financial Times (FT), Netanyahu announced the dissolution of the wartime cabinet, which was formed at the beginning of the war last October, at a security cabinet meeting the previous night.

The wartime cabinet, composed of a few members, has been the highest decision-making body until now.

Gantz previously withdrew from the wartime cabinet, criticizing Netanyahu for exacerbating the conflict with Hamas and making hostage release difficult by being swayed by hardliners.

With the disbandment of the wartime cabinet, Netanyahu will now make war decisions through the security cabinet.

According to Israeli government officials, Netanyahu will discuss sensitive issues with a small group and make decisions.

Along with Gantz, another centrist, Gadi Eisenkot, also withdrew from the war cabinet.

As they left, right-wing forces Minister of Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich demanded participation in the wartime cabinet, but Netanyahu decided to make important decisions through the security cabinet instead.

With their withdrawal, Netanyahu no longer has to consider the centrists, but he is still under pressure from the United States.

While fully supporting Israel, the United States is pressuring it to release hostages through a ceasefire with Hamas.

Hochstein met with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials in Israel on June 17.

He will meet with top officials in Lebanon on June 18.

Hochstein’s visits to Israel and Lebanon take place amidst escalating conflicts with Hezbollah, a Lebanese armed faction, as Israel continues to battle Hamas and faces the northern border.

The local conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has intensified after Israel attacked southern Lebanon, killing senior Hezbollah official Talib Sami Abdallah. In retaliation, Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets and drones at Israel over three days.

The dissolution of the wartime cabinet amidst rising tensions with Hezbollah and the ongoing war with Hamas, despite international criticism, is expected to plunge Israel into turmoil.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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