By a Thread

11 June 2024


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Gantz Quits Israeli War Cabinet


After he was caught napping while Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to form a war cabinet from across the local political spectrum to enhance political stability in a difficult time. It also meant he had some political cover for the inevitable errors that occur on a battlefield. Chief among the outsiders was Mr. Benny Gantz, a former general in the Israeli Defense Forces, head of the National Unity Party. His participation brought some hope of sensible centrism to the war cabinet. He resigned over the week-end. The way the IDF is fighting this war has disappointed him.

Isabel Kershner, writing in the New York Times, stated, "Mr. Gantz accused Mr. Netanyahu of 'political procrastination,' suggesting that he had been putting off critical strategic decisions to ensure his political survival. His decision to quit the wartime government ushers in a new period of political instability and has left many Israelis wondering where the country goes from here."

While National Unity was represented in the war cabinet, the party is in opposition to the government. So the departure of Messrs. Gantz and his fellow party member Gadi Eisenkot does not affect the arithmetic in the Knesset. Mr. Netanyahu still has 64 seats in the 120-member body.

At the same time, the resignations mean Mr. Netanyahu must rely more on the hard right members of the war cabinet to keep his majority together. This probably means a cease-fire is farther away now than it was last week. It also means that the anti-Netanyahu political forces have a leader, which in turn will make the rift between the government and the opposition wider.

The Jerusalem Post wrote this morning "Gantz's announcement on Sunday night was disheartening for those who hoped that reasonable, experienced voices like his and Eisenkot’s would influence the direction this war is taking. These two people, who cast aside their political and ideological differences to try to imbue some of their influence where it was sorely needed, found themselves unable to make the desired impact. This raises questions about the potential for moderation in managing the war."

The calendar appears to be working in the favor of Mr. Netanyahu, however. The Knesset ends its session in late July, and it will not reconvene until after the High Holy Days which fall in late October and early November. If he can survive the next six week, he may well survive the next six months.

"Netanyahu has only one thing in mind," said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Maintaining his own power as prime minister."

"His main aim is to drag this coalition just far enough into the autumn," she said, so that the next Israeli election could only take place after the presidential election in the United States.

If Mr. Biden wins re-election, Mr. Netanyahu is no worse off than his is now, with the exception that he is stuck with the current administration for another four years. If Mr. Trump wins, the Israeli PM can expect, at a bare minimum, political cover and diplomatic support. One would not be surprised if he also got more weapons.

The solution to the current problem remains the same. Hamas and Netanyahu are both against a settlement. Their removal from power is key to obtaining peace. Mr. Gantz tried to bring some sense to the war cabinet, but he failed. It may well have been impossible anyway.

Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands dead, more than 100 hostages still held by Hamas and no sign of an end to this madness.

© Copyright 2024 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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