Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz resigns from govt, calls for new elections

Jerusalem, June 10 (IANS) Israel’s centrist War Cabinet Minister, Benny Gantz, has announced his resignation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency government and called for new elections.

In response, Netanyahu released a statement on Sunday saying that “Israel is in an existential war on several fronts. Benny, this is not the time to abandon the campaign”.

In a televised press conference, Gantz accused Netanyahu of prioritising his political survival over a ceasefire deal that would secure the release of about 100 hostages held in Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Unfortunately, Netanyahu is preventing us from advancing toward the real victory,” said Gantz on Sunday.

“Strategic decisions are met with hesitation due to political considerations.”

Echoing increasing public protest against Netanyahu’s government, Gantz called for a new round of elections in the fall.

He urged Netanyahu to set an agreed date to hold them.

“Don’t let our people to be torn apart,” he said.

Gantz’s decision to withdraw his centrist party from Netanyahu’s far-right coalition left it with ultra-orthodox ministers, including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who advocate for reoccupying the Gaza Strip and expanding Israeli settlements there.

Gantz’s resignation followed a May ultimatum he issued to the right-wing Prime Minister, demanding that Netanyahu develop a clear post-conflict strategy for Gaza, where Israel has been conducting a fatal assault, and agree to a hostage-ceasefire agreement.



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