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Tsunami of resistance drowns Israel’s war cabinet

Tehran Times – The decision made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to dissolve his six-member war cabinet has highlighted growing rifts in Israel amid the regime’s failure to achieve its goals in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli premier’s move to disband the war cabinet comes over a week after opposition leader Benny Gantz withdrew from it. 

On June 9, while announcing his resignation, Gantz accused Netanyahu, known as Bibi, of mismanaging the war effort and putting his own “political survival” over Israel’s security needs.

“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,” Netanyahu told ministers on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported. Another Israeli newspaper touched upon the process of decision-making following the dissolution of the war cabinet.  

According to Haaretz, some of the issues previously discussed by the body would be transferred for discussion in the security cabinet. It includes far-right ministers. Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich who have opposed ceasefire deals and voiced support for reoccupying Gaza. 

War cabinet establishment 

The war cabinet was formed days after Israel launched its brutal onslaught on Gaza on October 7 in the wake of a surprise military operation carried out by Hamas in southern Israel dubbed the Al-Aqsa Storm Operation.

The body originally included Netanyahu, war minister Yoav Gallant, and Gantz, who made important decisions, as well as three observer members; one of whom stepped down with Gantz. It was tasked with steering the Gaza conflict. 

Since the early days of the war, Netanyahu has said achieving “total victory” over Hamas and “destroying” the resistance group are his priorities. 

But more than eight months into the war, Israel has not only failed to defeat Hamas but it continues to suffer crushing blows at the hands of resistance fighters in the Gaza battlefield. It now seems that Israel is being consumed by a tsunami of resistance. 

Israel’s international isolation 

Israel’s mass massacres in Gaza have also deepened the regime’s isolation. The Israeli army has butchered more than 37,300 Palestinians in Gaza since early October, many of them women and children. 

Israel stands accused of genocide by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. More countries have also announced that they will recognize Palestine as a state.

However, such international pressure has failed to stop Israel’s killing machine in Gaza. This is because some Western countries, in particular the United States, are feeding the regime’s war machine by providing it with huge amounts of weapons. 

The disbanding of the war cabinet by Netanyahu is seen as an attempt to tighten his grip on decision-making over Israel’s war on Gaza. The premier’s move to scrap the war cabinet has also been interpreted as a deliberate snub to far-right elements such as Ben-Gvir, who had been seeking a seat in the body following Gantz’s departure. 

Power struggle 

The developments come as cracks are developing between Netanyahu and the military. He has reportedly locked horns with military officials over their plans to hold daily tactical pauses in Gaza in the wake of the purported aim of easing the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian territory. 

“When the prime minister heard the reports of an 11-hour humanitarian pause in the morning, he turned to his military secretary and made it clear that this was unacceptable to him,” an unnamed Israeli official said Sunday. 

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu also told his cabinet on Sunday that “in order to reach the goal of eliminating the capabilities of Hamas, [he had] made decisions that were not always acceptable to the military echelon.” But he added, “We have a country with an army and not an army with a country.”

A string of military leaders has also made rare public statements airing their grievances with Netanyahu’s handling of the onslaught in Gaza, admitting that the regime cannot afford to continue the war indefinitely.

The dissolution of the war cabinet is the latest example of the power struggle between high-ranking Israeli officials. 

Domestic implosion

Besides, anti-Netanyahu protests, which have become a regular occurrence in Israel, have been a persistent thorn in his side. They have called for the release of the remaining captives in Gaza. 

More than 1,100 people were killed and about 250 others were taken captive when Hamas carried out the Al-Aqsa Storm Operation. Dozens of captives still remain in Gaza following a swap deal between Israel and Hamas in November last year. 

The Netanyahu regime is reluctant to end the war because it still enjoys Washington’s unwavering support. But deep domestic divisions in the wake of rising resistance of Palestinians have created a sense of polarization and mistrust in Israel which could escalate into a full-blown crisis and potentially lead to a political implosion. 

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