Israeli war cabinet member demands overhaul of Netanyahu’s post-conflict vision for Gaza

Israeli politician Benny Gantz demanded an overhaul of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s post-conflict vision for Gaza Saturday, threatening to step down from the war cabinet if his concerns were not addressed.

Gantz, seen as a chief rival of Netanyahu, demanded the government provide an updated six-point plan by June 8.

His request could further divide the emergency government that was formed following Palestinian militant group Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, which killed roughly 1,200 Israelis and resulted in more than 250 people being taken hostage.

Gantz’s push focused on first ensuring the safe return of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas and then shifting focus to defeating the militant group in the Gaza Strip. He also proposed an international administration — composed of U.S., European, Arab and Palestinian delegates — to lead civilian affairs in Gaza, without including Hamas.

“If you choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation to the abyss — we will be forced to quit the government,” Gantz said in a press conference, The Associated Press reported.

His proposal also includes normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and widen military service in the nation.

Netanyahu pushed back on Gantz’s request, claiming he was choosing to issue an ultimatum on Israeli government and not Hamas, per the AP. Instead, the prime minister called the requests “euphemisms” for Israel’s defeat.

The proposal also comes just days after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a similar threat, claiming he would step down if Israel is elected to govern Gaza. Instead, he pressured Netanyahu to make plans for a Palestinian state.

“I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza Strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza Strip and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be advanced immediately,” Gallant said last week, according to the AP.

Netanyahu’s plan, unveiled in February, would permit Israel to retain indefinite security in Gaza when the conflict is over. However, that plan would run counter to pressure from the U.S. and other nations for Israel to establish an independent Palestinian government.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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