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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday sought to keep his government from unraveling Israel’s new ceasefire proposal, as two key right-wing ministers stepped up their threats to quit the government.

For months, Netanyahu has tried to navigate countervailing pressures from Israel’s allies, who are seeking a halt to the fighting, and his right-wing coalition partners, who are pushing for a war. continue to fight Hamas.

Then on Friday, President Biden stepped up the pressure, declaring it was time for the war to end and outline a new ceasefire proposal which he said Israel had endorsed. The move has increased pressure on Netanyahu to end the war, but he may not be able to do so without losing his grip on power.

The domestic political difficulties facing Netanyahu became clear on Monday when the far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who plays a key role in his ruling coalition, declared again that he would not accept the latest proposal if it left Hamas intact.

He said his party would withdraw from the government if Israel moves forward with such an agreement. Without Mr. Ben-Gvir’s six parliamentary seats, Mr. Netanyahu would likely have difficulty maintaining office.

Hamas said they view the proposal Mr. Biden made as “positive” but have not said whether they will accept it or not. On Sunday, Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official told an Egyptian television channel that “the ball” is now “in Israel’s court.”

Another far-right political leader, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, threatened to overthrow the government if it agreed to the proposal. “If the government, God forbid, decides to go through with this surrender proposal, we will no longer be part of it and we will act to replace the failed leadership with a new leadership that knows how to defeat Hamas and win the war,” he said.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu assured lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that Israel’s latest proposal would not end the war without ending Hamas’ rule in Gaza. He said it would allow Israel to continue fighting Hamas until all of its war goals are achieved, including destroying the group’s military and administrative capabilities, which has led to the deadly attack on October 7 in southern Israel.

“Claims that we agreed to a ceasefire without meeting our conditions are inaccurate,” Netanyahu said Monday, speaking before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to a statement. statement from his office.

The prime minister expressed openness to a 42-day pause in fighting – part of the first phase of what US officials describe as a three-phase deal proposed by Israel – but ruled out ending it. outright war without the defeat or surrender of Hamas, according to a person present at the committee meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of the closed-door discussion.

Netanyahu also said that President Biden did not present the “full picture” of the latest ceasefire proposal when he spoke about the issue last week, said the person present at the meeting.

During Friday’s speech, Mr. Biden made his entrance extraordinary level of detail in presenting what he described as Israel’s new framework. He said it amounted to a roadmap toward a “lasting ceasefire” and said that if Hamas complied with its terms, it would lead to a “permanent cessation of hostilities.”

Two Israeli officials confirmed that the offer Mr. Biden shared was generally in line with the most recent ceasefire proposal that Israel made in negotiations brokered by Qatar and Egypt and supported by the United States. .

Earlier on Monday, an official close to Mr. Ben-Gvir said he planned to meet with Mr. Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s most recent ceasefire offer and consider a written version. But the minister said on Monday afternoon that officials in the prime minister’s office refused to show him the documents and he did not mention the meeting with Netanyahu.

The minister said he later received a phone call from Tzachi Hanegbi, the prime minister’s national security adviser, who claimed that a written version of the proposal did not exist.

Shira Efron, senior director of policy studies at the Israel Policy Forum, said that although Mr. Ben-Gvir and Mr. Smotrich are in a “once-in-a-lifetime alliance” to wield influence in ministries, Mr. important, but they are willing to accept risks that may lead to loss of decision-making power.

“They are real thinkers,” she said in an interview.


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