Gantz Threatens To Leave Government Over Gaza Strategy
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing pressure from his War Cabinet and the United States regarding postwar plans for the Gaza Strip as the conflict with Hamas continues.
Benny Gantz, a member of the War Cabinet and Netanyahu’s main political rival, has issued an ultimatum Saturday, stating that he would leave the government on June 8 if it did not develop a new war plan involving an international, Arab, and Palestinian administration to manage civilian affairs in Gaza.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, another Cabinet member, has echoed calls for a Palestinian administration plan. In a recent speech, Gallant said he would not support Israel governing Gaza directly.
The US has advocated for a revitalized Palestinian Authority to oversee Gaza with assistance from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, aiming for eventual Palestinian statehood. National security adviser Jake Sullivan is expected to push these plans during his visit to Israel today.
Netanyahu has thus far dismissed these pressures. However, Gantz’s ultimatum could limit his options. Netanyahu has ruled out any role for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, instead proposing to hand civil responsibilities to local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Authority. He argues that no plans can be made until Hamas is defeated, citing threats from the group against those who cooperate with Israel.
Netanyahu’s government remains staunchly opposed to Palestinian statehood. In response to Gantz’s ultimatum, Netanyahu said that Gantz’s conditions would mean “defeat for Israel, abandoning most of the hostages, leaving Hamas intact and establishing a Palestinian state.” Nonetheless, he acknowledged the importance of the emergency government for continuing the war effort and urged Gantz to clarify his stance publicly.
Gantz’s potential departure would make Netanyahu more dependent on his far-right coalition allies, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. These allies advocate for reoccupying Gaza, encouraging the “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians, and reestablishing Jewish settlements dismantled in 2005.
Critics, including thousands of protesters, accuse Netanyahu of prolonging the war for political survival. Gantz, who joined the government after the October 7 attack that triggered the war, warned Netanyahu not to “choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation to the abyss.” Netanyahu denies these accusations, emphasizing his focus on defeating Hamas and arguing that elections would distract from the war effort.
Polls suggest that if new elections were held, Netanyahu would likely be ousted, with Gantz positioned as his successor. This could end Netanyahu’s lengthy political career and fast-track his prosecution for longstanding corruption charges. Israeli media have reported growing discontent within the security establishment, with officials warning that the lack of postwar planning could turn tactical victories into strategic defeats.
The conflict has seen Hamas regrouping even in heavily damaged areas. Heavy fighting continues in the Jabaliya refugee camp and the Zeitoun neighborhood. Israeli troops are also advancing in Rafah, causing widespread displacement and hindering humanitarian aid delivery. Indirect cease-fire talks mediated by the US, Qatar, and Egypt appear stalled, with families of hostages held by Hamas blaming the Israeli government for the impasse.
In his address, Gantz criticized the government, stating, “Essential decisions were not taken. Acts of leadership required to ensure victory were not carried out. A small minority has taken over the command bridge of the Israeli ship and is leading it toward a wall of rocks.”

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