Gantz Threatens Government Overturn if Prisoner Deal Is Blocked – Netanyahu Under Pressure

Benny Gantz and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

In a similar vein, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has accused Netanyahu of prioritizing his political career over the return of Israeli prisoners.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “will not have the right to continue to exist” if it puts obstacles to the proposed prisoner exchange deal, War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday.

“Entering Rafah is important in the long struggle against Hamas. The return of our abductees, abandoned by the 7.10 government, is urgent and of far greater importance,” Gantz said on X.

“If a responsible outline is reached for the return of the abductees with the backing of the entire security system, which does not involve the end of the war, and the ministers who led the government on 7.10 prevent it – the government will not have the right to continue to exist and lead the campaign,” he added.

In a similar vein, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has accused Netanyahu of prioritizing his political career over the return of Israeli prisoners.

Netanyahu does not want to conclude a prisoner exchange deal “because he fears the disintegration of his ruling coalition”, Lapid said, according to Israel’s Channel 12. 

Lapid reportedly stressed that it is impossible for Israeli society to recover without the return of the Israeli captives currently held in Gaza.

He added that if he were prime minister, he would have refused to launch a military aggression against Rafah in exchange for the prisoners’ return, noting that an exchange deal could have been concluded in December.

“Every day we wait for more prisoners to die one after another,” he was quoted as saying ,adding that “this government is doing nothing but causing damage to Israel’s image in the world.”

Delays, Pressures, Israeli Government Split – What We Know about Israel’s Planned Rafah Invasion

Split in Israeli Government

On Saturday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that a planned military operation in Rafah could be suspended if a prisoner exchange deal is reached with Hamas.

Katz made the statement to Israeli broadcaster Channel 12, responding to a video released by the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, featuring two Israeli captives calling for a deal to secure their release.

However, reports emerged on Saturday indicating that Israeli far-right ministers, including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, threatened Netanyahu with a government overthrow unless an attack on Rafah proceeds.

According to Israeli public broadcaster KAN, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir warned of withdrawing from the government if a ground invasion of Rafah does not occur.

Rafah has become the last refuge for more than 1.4 million Palestinians after their displacement from the northern and central Gaza Strip in an attempt to escape Israel’s genocidal war.


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