Ministers threaten to overthrow Israeli government over ‘reckless’ ceasefire plan in Gaza

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Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing allies have rejected a US-brokered ceasefire proposal to end the war in Gaza as a “complete surrender” to Hamas, threatening to topple the Israeli government if it is enacted .

US President Joe Biden revealed the outline of one agree on Friday, during which the fighting will halt and Israeli hostages held in Gaza will be released. The ultimate goal, Biden said, would be to end the conflict.

After the end of the Sabbath on Saturday night, two senior far-right ministers in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition warned the longtime prime minister against accepting the “reckless” deal and urged him to continue the fight until the “complete elimination” of Hamas.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a statement that the proposal would be “a victory for terrorism and a security danger to the State of Israel.”

“Agreeing to such a deal is not total victory – it is total defeat,” he added, threatening to “dissolve the government.”

Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister, said he would not join a government that agreed “to end the war without destroying Hamas and returning all hostages”. He criticized the proposal to withdraw Israeli troops Gazarelease Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons and return displaced Gazans to their homes in the shattered north.

“We demand continued fighting until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are returned,” he said.

The United States, along with Egypt and Qatar, issued a joint statement on Saturday calling on both Hamas and Israel to complete the terms of the agreement as outlined by Biden. All three states have been trying for months to reach a deal to stop it fighting in GazaHowever, negotiations have stalled over fundamental gaps between the two warring sides – especially over whether the ceasefire will be permanent.

In their statement, the three countries added that the proposal “will bring immediate relief to both the people of Gaza as well as the hostages and their families. This agreement sets out a roadmap for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the crisis.”

According to Biden, the three-phase agreement will begin with a “full and complete ceasefire” for six weeks, including the withdrawal of Israeli forces from “densely populated” areas of Gaza and the return of some number of hostages, including Americans, along with the military. release some Palestinian prisoners

The second phase would involve the release of all hostages and a “permanent cessation of hostilities” combined with the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.

The third phase would involve the “reconstruction” of Gaza, designed to bring about broader stability in the Middle East.

Netanyahu’s office issued two non-committal statements, saying “Israel’s conditions for ending the war remain unchanged: destruction of Hamas’s military and administrative capabilities, release of all hostages and ensure that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel.”

Netanyahu’s office added that it would “insist that these conditions be met before a permanent ceasefire is imposed. The notion that Israel would agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are met is a non-starter.”

Hamas said in a statement that it “takes a positive view” of Biden’s speech and is ready to deal “constructively with any proposal based on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal complete army”. [of Israeli forces] from the Gaza Strip, the reconstruction [of Gaza]and the return of displaced persons to their homes, along with the completion of a substantive prisoner exchange agreement,” so long as Israel “clearly declares its commitment to such an agreement.”

With pressure growing within Netanyahu’s own coalition and the right-wing establishment against the proposed ceasefire, opposition leader Yair Lapid on Saturday again offered to provide a “safety net” for ruling coalition in case Ben-Gvir and Smotrich withdraw from their parties.

“The Israeli government cannot ignore President Biden’s important speech. There is a deal on the table and it needs to be done,” Lapid wrote on X.

Tens of thousands of Israelis converged on central Tel Aviv on Saturday night in a weekly protest demanding the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the October 7 attack that sparked the war. About 125 people remain in detention, with about a third believed by Israeli officials to be dead.

“Yes to the Netanyahu Agreement! Take them home now!” they shouted.


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