/ 20 May 2024

Cracks in Israel’s coalition

Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Squiz 

The war in Gaza is in its eighth month, and Israel’s wartime cabinet is at breaking point as frustration grows over the slow progress being made. Former military chief/National Unity party leader Benny Gantz has delivered PM Benjamin Netanyahu an ultimatum, saying he would pull out if a plan for the future of the war isn’t sorted by 8 June. It follows Defence Minister Yoav Gallant’s demand last week that Netanyahu promise he wouldn’t seek to establish an Israeli military government in Gaza. For his part, Netanyahu says the men are effectively calling for “Israeli defeat” because their demands would see Hamas remain in power in the Palestinian territory.

What’s the problem exactly? 

Gantz says there needs to be clarity on Israel’s goals going forward. Top of the list is securing the release of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists on 7 October, and then it’s about the future governance of the territory, returning displaced Israelis to their homes, and getting back to the work of normalising relations with Saudi Arabia, among other things. Gantz says Netanyahu is “dragging the country into the abyss” but has given him 3-weeks to agree on a 6-point plan. Experts say if Gantz quits, it won’t necessarily topple the government, but it would put Netanyahu’s leadership under a dark cloud… And with the PM’s party colleague Gallant also criticising his ongoing management of the war, commentators say Netanyahu is “increasingly being squeezed”

And the war’s been an issue in Oz over the weekend? 

Yep – that’s because pro-Palestinian demonstrators made a lot of noise in Melbourne over the weekend. Yesterday, the front of the state’s parliament was a rallying point for thousands of pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters. The 2 sides had to be separated by police, and 6 people were arrested in ugly scenes that followed the Labor Party’s Victorian conference on Saturday. Premier Jacinta Allan said she was “disgusted” by the protestors who brought “violence, homophobia and anti-Semitism” to the gathering. “No one should be [cowered] by these bullies,” she said. Protestors were targeting state and federal Labor MPs who they say are “aiding and abetting the genocide of Palestinian people”. And as we head into a new week, pro-Palestinian protesters who’ve set up encampments/occupied buildings on university campuses are not going anywhere… 

* For the backstory to the university campus protests, check out our latest Squiz Shortcut

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