Far-right Israeli ministers threaten to topple govt if Netanyahu agrees to ceasefire proposal

Biden had proposed a ceasefire offer that would see the release of hostages

Untitled design - 1 Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Right) Protestors march against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government seeking the release of hostages | Agencies

Pressure seems to be mounting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after two far-right Israeli ministers threatened to quit and collapse the coalition government if he agrees to a Gaza ceasefire proposal unveiled by US President Joe Biden on Friday.  

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said they would oppose any deal that would entail ending the war without the elimination of Hamas. "Such a deal would be "foolhardy, constituting a victory for terrorism and a threat to Israel's national security," the ultranationalist head of the Jewish Power party said on X.

Both ministers took to X to clear their stance. While Smotrich said he had already informed Netanyahu he would "not be part of a government that agrees to the proposed outline and ends the war without destroying Hamas and bringing back all the hostages", Ben-Gvir said the deal means the end of the war and the abandonment of the goal to destroy Hamas.

Netanyahu himself has vowed not to end the war until Hamas's military and governing capabilities were destroyed and all hostages released.

However, the Prime Minister received a lifeline in the form of opposition leader Yair Lapid has pledged to back the government if Mr Netanyahu supported the plan. His Yesh Atid party hold 24 seats. He said Mr Netanyahu "has our safety net for a hostage deal if Ben-Gvir and Smotrich leave the government".

This comes as Israel witnessed a massive protest in the last days with demonstrators seeking Netanyahu's resignation. Protestors said they fear he could torpedo the proposal and this could endanger the lives of those held in Gaza. Scuffles had broken out between protesters and police during the protests.

What's Biden's ceasefire proposal?

As per the new ceasefire proposal, the six-week ceasefire will have the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrawing from populated areas of Gaza. The exchange of hostages will follow this in addition to the surge in humanitarian aid.

The deal would eventually lead to a permanent "cessation of hostilities" and a major reconstruction plan for Gaza. Biden said the proposal would "bring all the hostages home, ensure Israel’s security, create a better day after in Gaza without Hamas in power, and set the stage for a political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

Netanyahu said earlier on Saturday that there would be no “permanent ceasefire” in Gaza until Hamas’s military and governing capabilities were destroyed.


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