Israeli PM scraps war cabinet after key departures

Author: Editors Desk, David Gritten, Source: BBC News:
June 17, 2024 at 06:50
EPA / Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly now discuss sensitive issues about the Gaza war with a smaller forum
EPA / Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly now discuss sensitive issues about the Gaza war with a smaller forum

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved his six-member war cabinet, just over a week after the departure of centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz and his ally Gadi Eisenkot.

Israeli media report that sensitive issues about the war with Hamas in Gaza will now be discussed by a smaller forum.

Mr Netanyahu had faced demands from far-right ministers in his governing coalition to join the war cabinet, which could have further strained ties with the US and other international allies.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that, as far as it was concerned, it would not affect the chain of command.

Mr Gantz and Mr Eisenkot quit over the prime minister’s leadership, including the lack of a plan for post-conflict Gaza.

The two former military chiefs had joined a national unity government with Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition days after the start of the war in October.

“The [war] cabinet was in the coalition agreement with Gantz at his request. As soon as Gantz left - there is no need for a cabinet anymore," Mr Netanyahu told ministers on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Haaretz reported that some of the issues previously discussed by the war cabinet would be transferred for discussion in the security cabinet, which includes the far-right National Security and Finance Ministers, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

It said sensitive decisions would be addressed in a “smaller consultation forum”, which was expected to include Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and the chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, who was an observer in the war cabinet.

The IDF's chief spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Monday that the move would not affect it.

"Cabinet members are being changed and the method is being changed. We have the echelon, we know the chain of command. We're working according to the chain of command. This is a democracy,” he told reporters.

The Israeli military launched a campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas in response to an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on 7 October, during which about 1,200 people were killed and 251 others were taken hostage.

More than 37,330 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the territory's Hamas-run health ministry.

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