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PRESSURE IS ON: Gantz, Smotrich Threaten To Topple Bibi’s Government Amid Hostage Deal Talks

In a dramatic escalation of pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two senior ministers issued threats to leave the government on Sunday, as Israel negotiates a deal for the return of hostages held by Hamas and prepares for a ground offensive in Rafah.

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz warned that if a responsible outline for the return of hostages is reached, but ministers who led the government on October 7 prevent it, “the government will have no right to continue to exist and lead the campaign.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich threatened that the government would have “no right to exist” unless Israel invades Rafah, rejecting an Egyptian-mediated hostages-for-ceasefire proposal as a “humiliating surrender.”

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid denounced the ultimatums, saying, “The government needs to choose: Return the hostages alive, or Ben Gvir and Smotrich. Relations with the Americans or Ben Gvir and Smotrich. An agreement with the Saudis or Ben Gvir and Smotrich. The security of Israel or Ben Gvir and Smotrich.”

Despite the political threats, an Israeli official insisted that “preparations for Rafah are continuing,” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pledged to eliminate Hamas and return the hostages.

The developments come as the US has expressed concerns over a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Rafah, with White House national security spokesperson John Kirby saying Israel agreed to listen to US concerns before carrying out a military invasion.

A senior Hamas official said the terror group would deliver its response to Israel’s latest counterproposal for a Gaza truce on Monday, as diplomatic efforts intensify to reach a truce and hostage-release deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that an Israeli invasion of Rafah would be “the biggest disaster in the history of the Palestinian people,” appealing to the US to stop the operation.

(YWN’s Jerusalem Desk is keeping you updated on Isru Chag in Israel.)


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