In the midst of the Gaza war, the conflict within the Israeli government over the future of the contested coastal area is escalating. War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz threatened on Saturday evening to quit the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If the head of government does not present a plan for the post-war order in the Gaza Strip by June 8th, he and other members of his opposition center party National Union would leave the government, said the ex-general in Tel Aviv. This could plunge the government into crisis. “A war is only won with a clear and realistic strategic compass,” Gantz said. Netanyahu then accused his coalition partner and political rival of giving the Prime Minister of Israel an ultimatum – instead of the Islamist Hamas.

Protests in Israel

Gantz’s statement came just three days after Israel’s Defense Minister Joav Galant publicly denounced Netanyahu’s conduct of the war. A political alternative to Hamas must be created in Gaza. Otherwise, the only option would be a continuation of Hamas rule or Israeli military rule, said Galant, who forms the war cabinet with Gantz and Netanyahu. On the evening Gantz issued his ultimatum, thousands of people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to demand the return of the hostages. The German ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, said in a speech: “We have to tell everyone that there is nothing more important than bringing the kidnapped people home. That should be the ultimate goal,” he told the “Times of Israel.” ” according to.

A week after the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Malmö, Israeli participant Eden Golan sang her song with the original lyrics at the large demonstration, as media reported. At the ESC, Israel had to change the text entitled “October Rain” under pressure from the organizers because they found it too political – because of possible references to the massacres carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7th. Meanwhile, according to the media, there were also protests against Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Here too, demonstrators demanded the return of the more than 100 hostages. “The one who abandoned her must bring her back!” it was said. “End the war” was written on posters. That same evening, the army announced that it had recovered the body of another hostage.

Body of another hostage discovered

The man was murdered in the Hamas massacre on October 7 and his body was taken to the Gaza Strip, it said. The army had already announced on Friday that it had recovered three bodies of hostages, including that of the German-Israeli Shani Louk. The massacre was the trigger for the war. Many in Israel complain that he has not delivered a decisive victory even after more than seven months. Important leadership decisions to ensure victory were not made, Gantz said. “A small minority has taken over the command bridge of the Israeli ship of state and is steering it towards the cliffs,” he said, referring to Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist coalition partners, who had recently threatened to end the government.

Gantz calls for plans for an alternative government in Gaza

According to Israeli media reports, Gantz demanded from Netanyahu a plan by that date to achieve six “strategic goals”: among other things, he included the establishment of an administration with the participation of the USA, Europe, the Arab states and the Palestinians, who are the civilians to regulate affairs in the Gaza Strip and form the basis for a future alternative government there. Under no circumstances could this be Hamas or Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In addition, the hostages must return from the Gaza Strip and relations with Saudi Arabia must be normalized. Gantz also called for a concept for military service for all Israelis to be adopted.

Netanyahu rejects demands

Netanyahu’s office then said, according to media reports, that Gantz’s demands would mean a defeat for Israel, the surrender of the majority of hostages, the retention of Hamas in power and the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu has been in power since the end of 2022 together with right-wing extremist and ultra-religious parties. Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government as a minister without portfolio and a member of the war cabinet following the unprecedented attack by Hamas and other terrorist groups on October 7. In doing so, those involved wanted to send a signal of unity.

If Gantz were to carry out his threat and leave the government with members of his party, that would not immediately mean the end of the government. According to observers, Netanyahu would be even more exposed to the pressure and demands of his extremist coalition partners than before. These call, among other things, for the establishment of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu, who has been under a corruption trial for a long time, is dependent on his right-wing extremist coalition partners for his political survival. Without Gantz and his party members he would only have a slim majority in parliament. If there were a government crisis and new elections as a result, Gantz would become the new head of government, according to recent surveys.

UNRWA chief: Around 800,000 people have left Rafah

Meanwhile, according to the UN Palestinian Relief Agency (UNRWA), around 800,000 people have left the city in southern Gaza since the military operation began in Rafah almost two weeks ago. Once again, almost half of the population of Rafah was on the streets, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini complained on Saturday evening on Platform Allies such as the United States have repeatedly warned Israel against a large-scale attack on the city on the border with Egypt because of the large number of internally displaced people. However, Israel’s leadership is sticking to its plans to attack Rafah.

What will be important on Sunday

US President Joe Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan wants to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Galant and other officials in Israel to discuss the Israeli military’s controversial move into Rafah and post-war plans for the sealed-off Gaza Strip. The US government also expects Netanyahu’s government to actively participate in developing a concrete plan for the future of the Gaza Strip. The US does not support Hamas control. But there should be no anarchy and no vacuum that will “probably be filled by chaos,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently warned. There must therefore be a clear plan. Israel should bring ideas, he demanded.