Netanyahu dissolves Israeli war cabinet


Lerato Khumalo

The war cabinet made important decisions regarding the fighting in Gaza. After the resignation of an important opposition politician, the unity after the attack on October 7 was gone.

A good week after Minister Benny Gantz withdrew from the Israeli emergency government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the war cabinet. A spokeswoman for the head of government confirmed media reports about the dissolution of the body formed after the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. Government sources said that Netanyahu would discuss critical decisions with regard to the current conflicts in smaller forums in the future.

The war cabinet made important decisions regarding the fighting in the Gaza Strip and also with regard to the conflict with the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah. In order to demonstrate unity after the Hamas attack, the then opposition politician Gantz joined the three-member war cabinet. However, the former general and defense minister announced his resignation a week ago due to differences of opinion regarding the Gaza war. He accused Netanyahu of “hesitation and wasting time for political reasons” and complained that the government was not developing a plan for a post-war order in the Gaza Strip.

Along with Gantz, Gadi Eisenkot also withdrew from the war cabinet. The former general had been a non-voting observer. After the resignations, the dissolution of the war cabinet was already expected.

The body had also served as a counterweight to Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners. After Gantz’s resignation, the right-wing extremist police minister Itamar Ben-Gvir had called for his inclusion in the war cabinet.

In the attack by Hamas and other Palestinian extremists from the Gaza Strip on southern Israel on October 7, around 1,200 people were killed and another 250 were taken hostage. According to figures from the Hamas-controlled health authorities – which cannot be independently verified – more than 37,000 Palestinians have now been killed in the war that was triggered by this attack.

Thousands of Israelis have demonstrated in Jerusalem against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In front of the building of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, they demanded early elections and an agreement that would lead to the release of Israeli hostages held by the Islamist Hamas, the Times of Israel reported.

“Given the extremism that this government represents and its lack of recognition of its failure, it must return its mandate to the people,” said activist Shikma Bressler, one of the leaders of the protest movement. The Netanyahu government relies on the right-wing religious Likud party of the prime minister and on coalition partners from the ultra-religious and right-wing extremist party spectrum.

Netanyahu is increasingly facing criticism for the lack of a hostage agreement. His opponents accuse him of giving in to the wishes of his extremist coalition partners and therefore thwarting negotiated solutions. He denies this and blames the intransigence of Hamas for the stagnation of the indirect negotiations. Recently, the intensity of the protests and demonstrations against the Netanyahu government has increased.