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Israeli Cabinet Concerned over Netanyahu Embrace of Racist Ideologue Smotrich

The ugly issue of the ethnic cleansing, or driving the Palestinian population out of Gaza, is behind the recent flight forward behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This arises in the Times of Israel report on the brawl between Israel’s War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz and Netanyahu.

The short background is that the White House, as of Dec. 26, thought they had an agreement that the plan for governing Gaza would be discussed by Israel’s War Cabinet on Dec. 28. However, the ugly reality is that the “Eretz Yisrael” gang around the racist Finance Minister Belazel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, do not plan for there to be any Palestinians left to be governed in Gaza. They plan for continued warfare until, minimally, Gaza, the West Bank and parts of Lebanon are seized. So, Netanyahu first stalled on convening the agreed-upon session and then, a day later, simply declared that it would not occur.

The Times of Israel (ToI) reported first that the Cabinet secretary Yossi Fuchs told the War Cabinet that they could not hold such discussions because this would spark a coalition crisis. And it is very likely true that if Netanyahu were to insist on his full agenda, it could break up the coalition formed after the Oct. 7 assault on Israel. According to ToI, that provoked some anger from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, both of whom then rejected Netanyahu’s request to join him at what became his solo performance at a Dec. 30 press conference.

ToI reported: “War cabinet minister Benny Gantz fumed at [Fuchs'] remark, saying fear of a coalition crisis is not a reason to put off such critical discussions. ‘The army must know what is planned in order to prepare for the continuation of the fighting,’ Gantz is quoted as having said. ‘Since when do we not discuss such things in the war cabinet? Where does it say that it is forbidden to formulate a position on a matter before it is discussed in an expanded forum?’ he reportedly added.”

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