Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Amid growing domestic and international pressure for Israel to accept a ceasefire agreement in Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government faces an unprecedented crisis. Far-right deputies threaten to break with the government coalition, which could bring down the government.

Mediators such as the US, Qatar and Egypt once again discussed a proposal to end hostilities and return the hostages, with an appeal for both Israel and Hamas to accept the terms. Initially, Netanyahu said that no agreement is acceptable without eliminating the Palestinian group.

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Ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, prominent figures on the Israeli far right, have publicly declared that they will leave the government if Netanyahu accepts any proposal without the complete destruction of Hamas.

“If the prime minister puts this agreement into action under the conditions that were published today, the meaning of which is the end of the war and the abandonment of the objective of destroying Hamas, Jewish Power will dismantle the government,” said Ben-Gvir.

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Ben-Gvir only mentioned the total destruction of Hamas as a war objective, Smotrich mentioned that the condition for ending the conflict also involves the return of hostages captured by Hamas and the creation of a new level of security, both on the border with Gaza as with Lebanon.

“We will not agree to end the war before the destruction of Hamas, nor the serious damage done to the war’s achievements so far by an IDF withdrawal and the return of Gazans to northern Gaza, and not by mass liberation of terrorists who will return, God forbid, to murder Jews,” said Smotrich.

Netanyahu’s reaction and international pressure

Netanyahu, in response to international pressure and domestic threats, reaffirmed his commitment to the destruction of Hamas. “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’ military and governance capabilities, the release of all hostages, and the assurance that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” he said in a statement. “The idea that Israel will agree to a permanent ceasefire before these conditions are met makes no sense.”

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US President Joe Biden revealed last Friday (31) a three-phase plan to end the conflict in Gaza. The proposal includes the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from populated areas of Palestinian territory for six weeks and the release of all hostages. The truce would evolve into a permanent ceasefire if Hamas respected the terms.

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“It’s time for this war to end,” Biden declared, signaling that Israel’s war goals have already been achieved. However, Netanyahu reaffirmed that the destruction of Hamas is an essential condition for any peace agreement. “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’ military and governance capabilities, the release of all hostages, and the assurance that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” the premier said in a statement. .

Meanwhile, the international community, including the UN and other powers, encourages both Israel and Hamas to accept the agreement. Hamas was receptive to the proposal, indicating that it is ready to deal positively with any plan based on a permanent ceasefire.

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Pressure on Netanyahu is increasing not only domestically, but also on the streets of Israel. A protest in Tel Aviv brought together around 120,000 people demanding a peace agreement and the call for early elections. Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized far-right ministers and offered support to Netanyahu if he accepts the proposal. “This is the worst and most reckless government in the country’s history,” said Lapid.

The situation remains tense, with Netanyahu struggling to maintain his coalition government as the world awaits a resolution to the protracted conflict in Gaza.

with AFP and CNN


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