Gaza Ceasefire Plan

Prime Minister Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet

  • On June 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved his six-member war cabinet, a body formed in the early days of the Gaza war.
    • Cabinet members included Netanyahu, former general and centrist opposition leader Benny Gantz, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. It was also composed of three observers, government ministers Aryeh Deri and Gadi Eisenkot, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer.
  • This action came in response to the resignations of allies Gantz and Eisenkot.
    • Both members of the center-right National Unity Party left on June 9 over a lack of post-war plans for Gaza.
    • Gantz argued that Netanyahu is “preventing us from achieving real victory,” and “strategic and fateful decisions are made by the government out of political considerations.”
  • Without the war cabinet, Netanyahu is anticipated to consult mostly with a small group of ministers, including former cabinet members Gallant and Dermer, about the war effort. 
    • A government spokesperson asserted that the country’s security and full cabinets will also participate in the decision-making process.

Impact of the Dissolution

  • In light of the departures from the war cabinet, “Netanyahu had been under pressure from far-right ministers within his coalition cabinet who wanted to join the war cabinet,” such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
    • Both individuals had threatened to resign if Netanyahu proceeded with a U.S.-backed ceasefire deal before Hamas was “destroyed,” and international allies are unlikely to engage the two.
    • Therefore, the dissolution “avoids a tricky situation with his coalition partners and international allies.”
  • Reporting indicates that the dissolution of the cabinet distances Netanyahu from centrist Israeli politicians who are understood to be more amenable to a ceasefire.
    • Many individuals in the security cabinet, which now has increased decision-making responsibilities regarding the war, oppose ceasefire deals.

Current Status of Ceasefire Plans

  • On Wednesday, June 12, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Hamas’ response to a U.S.-backed ceasefire plan as “bridgeable,” with some “workable” and some unworkable changes. 
    • Hamas has characterized its response as consistent with the principles proposed by the United States. Qatari and Egyptian mediators plan to talk to Hamas regarding avenues for progress on the proposal.
  • Four U.S. officials familiar with the negotiations have expressed doubt that “Israel and Hamas will reach a comprehensive cease-fire deal under the current framework.”
    • While both parties largely agree to step one of the three-phase agreement, which features a six-week pause in fighting and a prisoner-for-hostage exchange, the second phase has revealed diverging priorities. 
    • In this second phase, which would negotiate an end to all hostilities, Hamas advocates for a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, but Israel maintains that it will not completely withdraw until Hamas is dismantled.
    • Phase three discusses the reconstruction of Gaza.
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