Gantz Resigns… What Happens to a Possible Deal Between Hamas and Israel? | news

Benny Gantz, leader of the Israeli National Unity Party (12 of the 120 representatives in the Knesset), supported reaching a prisoner exchange agreement with the Islamist movement (Hamas) and a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

However, with the Israeli war on Gaza ongoing since October 7, the prospects of this potential agreement have been thrown into dispute by the resignation of the Minister of War Council on Sunday evening.

During his resignation announcement, Gantz, the most prominent candidate to form the next government, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of pursuing policies that serve his own interests and called for elections “as soon as possible.”

He also accused the war on Gaza of failing to achieve its stated goals.

The Israeli war on Gaza has resulted in more than 121,000 Palestinians being martyred and wounded, most of them children and women, and about 10,000 missing amid deadly famine and mass destruction.

extreme right

With Ganz’s resignation, the field for the far-right in the governing coalition becomes increasingly empty, as the opposition accuses Netanyahu of capitulating to far-right representatives in his government.

National Defense Minister Itamar Ben Ghir, head of the far-right Jewish Power Party, is staunchly opposed to reaching any deal with Hamas and has threatened to topple the government if one is accepted.

“We cannot return the remaining hostages to their homeland except through massive and sustained military pressure,” Ben Gvir said at the “X” platform on Saturday evening.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smodrich, head of the far-right Religious Zionist Party, is opposed to reaching any agreement and is threatening to topple the emergency government.

During a meeting of the finance committee in the Knesset on Monday, Smotrich expressed this position to the families of Israeli prisoners in Gaza.

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Israeli Channel 12 quoted Smotrich as saying, “What deal? Is there a deal that Hamas accepts? You know? I will not support the deal in question. The question: Is there a deal?”

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At the end of last May, US President Joe Biden announced an “Israeli” plan for a three-phase deal that would include a ceasefire, prisoner exchange and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

In addition to the “Jewish Power” and “Religious Zionism” parties, some Likud (right) representatives, led by Netanyahu, oppose a deal with Hamas.

Apart from two religious parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, which have openly supported reaching an agreement, other parties in the government coalition are opposed or have reservations.

The ruling coalition has the support of 64 representatives in the Knesset, guaranteeing a majority.

The Netanyahu test

So far, Netanyahu has not declared his approval of the “Israeli plan” announced by Biden.

According to observers, Netanyahu fears the possibility of Ben Quir and Smodrich resigning, so he may bow to their pressure and not agree to a deal or convince them in exchange for concessions. In other areas.

Channel 12 political analyst Daphna Leal said, “Hamas has yet to respond to the Israeli proposal for a hostage deal, and it is difficult to assess the impact of Gantz’s departure on the chances of success of the deal currently offered to Hamas.”

While Netanyahu calls for a temporary cessation of hostilities, Hamas calls for an end to the war, the withdrawal of the Israeli army, the freedom of the displaced to return to their territories, the provision of adequate humanitarian aid, and the reconstruction of Gaza. Prisoner Transfer Agreement.

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Leal added, “But Netanyahu’s test will be if Hamas responds positively, and then he will face opposition from Smodrich and Ben Gvir.”

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safety net

If the conflict escalates, Netanyahu may turn to the opposition, whose leader Yair Lapid has announced in recent weeks that he is willing to provide Netanyahu with a safety net if a deal proposal is put to a vote.

The parties of Smodrich and Ben Gvir have 14 deputies, while Lapid’s “There Is a Future” party has 24, ensuring that Netanyahu can pass the deal in the Knesset if he wants to.

After the Israeli army freed four prisoners alive from Gaza on Saturday, Israeli voices called for military pressure to return the remaining prisoners.

But families of the prisoners reminded the government that only 7 prisoners were rescued from Gaza during the 8-month war, while 100 prisoners were freed through a week-long ceasefire agreement last December.

The families called on the Netanyahu government — through a statement and Saturday’s protest march — to accept the deal proposal announced by Biden.

Tel Aviv estimates there are 120 Israeli prisoners in Gaza, while Hamas has announced that more than 70 have been killed in attacks by Israel, which holds at least 9,500 Palestinians in its prisons.

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American pressure

According to Amos Harel, a military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “Israel may have other options to carry out bold rescue operations that carry great risks.”

“But as only 7 prisoners were rescued in 3 separate operations and other operations failed, there is no reason to believe that it is possible to free all of them by force of arms,” ​​he added.

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“The National United Party’s exit from the government will reduce the chances of Netanyahu risking another political crisis within his ruling coalition,” he said.

Harel added, “If there is any chance, it depends on the intense pressure the US administration exerts on both sides (Israel and Hamas).”

He indicated that the Israeli defense and military services were supportive of reaching an agreement, and said “the view of senior military officials is the same as that of senior officials in other security agencies, as always.”

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According to Harel, “Israel should try to negotiate a high price for the release of all the hostages, even if Hamas manages to present the deal as an achievement.”

Last May, Hamas and other factions announced their approval of an Egyptian-Qatar proposal for a cease-fire and prisoner exchange, but Israel rejected it, saying it did not meet its conditions.

Palestinian factions accuse Israel and its ally, the United States, of not really wanting to end the war and trying to buy time through negotiations in the hope that Tel Aviv will make gains.

UN Israel continues its war on Gaza despite the Security Council’s immediate cessation of hostilities, the International Court of Justice’s orders to end the Rafah (South) invasion, and measures to prevent genocidal acts and improve the dire situation. Humanitarian situation in the Strip.

Israel is also challenging a request by International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan to issue arrest warrants against its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its Defense Minister Yoav Galant for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in Gaza.

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