Rift in Israel war cabinet as defence chief opposes ‘military rule’ in Gaza | Israel War on Gaza News

EditorLast Update :
Rift in Israel war cabinet as defence chief opposes ‘military rule’ in Gaza | Israel War on Gaza News

Israeli Defense Minister Gallant challenges PM Netanyahu over failure to address issue of post-war plan for Gaza.

Divisions within Israel’s war cabinet over the lack of post-war plans for the Gaza Strip have erupted in a rare public row, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying the country should not be involved in ruling Gaza once the fighting ends.

On Wednesday, Gallant said he was opposed to the Israeli military control or taking responsibility for the governance of Gaza.

“I must reiterate … I will not agree to the establishment of Israeli military rule in Gaza. Israel must not establish civilian rule in Gaza,” he told a news conference.

Since the current conflict started in October, Gallant said he had been “raising this issue consistently in the cabinet, and have received no response,” rebuking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling on him to “make a decision”.

Netanyahu, who has indicated Israel intends to maintain open-ended control over security affairs in the enclave, responded to Gallant’s call saying he was not “prepared to exchange Hamastan for Fatahstan”. He has previously said that talking about the “day after” war was a moot point because the conflict would not end until the complete defeat of Hamas.

Benny Gantz, another war cabinet member, came out in support of Gallant, saying he spoke the truth and that it was the leadership’s responsibility to do the right thing for the country at all costs.

“This is all really showing deepening divisions among members of the war cabinet at a very critical time,” said Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Amman, Jordan, following an Israeli ban on the network.

Far-right ministers took aim at Gallant, whose statement placed him in the crosshairs of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

“The Minister of Defense who failed on October 7 and continues to fail today. Such a Minister of Defense must be replaced in order to achieve the goals of the war,” said Ben-Gvir in an X post.

Also posting on X, Smotrich said: “Defense Minister Gallant announced today his support for the establishment of a Palestinian terrorist state as a reward for terrorism and Hamas for the most terrible massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

US-Israel fracture

Despite promising to crush Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, Netanyahu has not expressed a clear vision of an alternative to the group following the war. Now, as the Israeli military ramps up its no-limits offensive on the territory, sending 600,000 fleeing from southern Rafah, the pressure is growing from critics at home and allies abroad – notably the United States – to present a plan for governance, security and rebuilding.

Disagreements over Gaza’s future have led to increasingly public friction between Israel and the US. Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken chided Israel for the lack of a plan in some of his strongest public criticism. Jamjoom said the latest developments presaged “a bigger fracture in the relationship between the US and Israel”.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said the Netanyahu administration had “lost control”.

“Relations with the US are collapsing, the middle class is collapsing,” he said. “Soldiers are being killed every day in Gaza and they fight among themselves on television. The cabinet is disassembled and non-functional. Ministers protest in front of cabinet meetings.”

As of Monday, 272 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,674 injured in Gaza and along the border with the Palestinian territory since the start of the war. On Thursday, the Israeli military said five soldiers were killed in northern Gaza, attributing it to “friendly fire”.

It said in a statement that seven troops were wounded in the incident on Wednesday. According to a preliminary investigation, two Israeli tanks in the area opened fire on a house used by the Israeli battalion’s deputy commander, the military said.

The head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Wednesday in response to the debate over Gaza’s post-war future that “the Hamas movement is here to stay”.