Gantz issues ultimatum to Netanyahu

Benny Gantz  credit: Marc Israel Sellem, The Jerusalem Post
Benny Gantz credit: Marc Israel Sellem, The Jerusalem Post

Benny Gantz declares that his party will leave the government unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents a strategic plan for the Gaza Strip by June 8.

National Unity party chairperson Benny Gantz issued an ultimatum to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night: either you present a strategic plan by June 8, or we leave the government. Gantz and his party joined Netanyahu’s government unconditionally after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, and he and party colleague Gadi Eisenkot are members of the narrow security cabinet. Both Gantz and Eisenkot are former chiefs of staff of the IDF.

In his appearance at Kfar Maccabiah last night, Gantz said, "A small minority has taken over the bridge of the Israeli ship and it is steering it towards the rocks. I stand here to say the truth, and the truth is hard. While Israel’s soldiers are demonstrating supreme heroism at the front, some of the people who sent them into battle are behaving in a cowardly and irresponsible manner.

"While the hostages are undergoing hellish torment in the dark tunnels of Gaza, there are those who concern themselves with vanities. While the people of Israel rise above personal concerns, some of our politicians are thinking of themselves. Personal and political considerations have begun to permeate the holy of holies of Israel’s security.

"We must all understand and inwardly digest: It’s true that war is won through determination and power on the battlefield. It’s true that war is won out of love of Israel, commitment to the heritage of Israel, and devotion to the unity of Israel. Alongside this, war is won with a clear and realistic strategic compass. War is won when all Israelis make their contributions and take part in the war effort. War is won, and a long struggle is maintained, with true strength that is not based on divisiveness, contention, and vainglory. War is won with wisdom, daring, sacrifice, judgement, and robust national strength.

"After I have done, together with my colleagues, everything I could do in closed rooms, change is required here and now… Now, at the crossroads where we find ourselves, the leadership has to see the broad picture, to spot dangers, to identify opportunities, and to formulate an updated national strategy. In order for us to be able to fight shoulder to shoulder, the war cabinet must formulate an action plan by June 8 that will lead to the attainment of six strategic goals of national importance:

"1. To bring the hostages home.

2. To dismantle the rule of Hamas, to demilitarize the Gaza Strip, and to ensure Israeli security control.

3. Alongside Israeli security control, to form a US-European-Arab-Palestinian administration that will run civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip and lay a foundation for a future alternative that Is not Hamas and not Abbas (Palestinian Authority chairperson Mahmoud Abbas).

4. To return the resident of the north to their homes by September 1 and rehabilitate the Western Negev.

5. To advance normalization with Saudi Arabia as part of a general move to create an alliance with the free world and with the Arab world against Iran.

6. To adopt a plan for service that will lead to all Israelis serving the country and contributing to the supreme national effort.

"There are no magic solutions. It won’t be easy. But only if we define the goals clearly and courageously will we be able to choose the long road that will lead to the summit."

Addressing Netanyahu, Gantz said: "If you put the national interest ahead of personal interests and choose to walk in the path of Herzl, Ben Gurion, Begin and Rabin, you will find in us partners in the struggle. But if you choose to walk in the path of zealots and lead the entire nation to the abyss, we will be compelled to leave the government. We will turn to the people, and form a government that wins the people’s confidence. We will form a government based om broad unity that will lead to repair and true victory."

Gantz’s declaration comes after that of Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant last week that he would not agree to Israeli military rule in the Gaza Strip. "That is a dangerous and bad alternative for Israel," Gallant, of Netanyahu’s own Likud party, said, adding, "Military action has as its end diplomatic action." Gallant said that Netanyahu would not make a decision, and that this endangered Israel’s military achievements. "This is a moment of a national test, even if it involves a political price," he said.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on May 19, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Benny Gantz  credit: Marc Israel Sellem, The Jerusalem Post
Benny Gantz credit: Marc Israel Sellem, The Jerusalem Post
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