Hardline Minister Threatens To Collapse Israel’s Coalition Govt If Gaza War Stops
Much of the international community has seen the ongoing temporary truce and accompanying hostage/prisoner swap in Gaza as a good and welcome development. The UN and even regional Arab countries have urged for the ceasefire to become permanent, but hardliners in the Israeli government are growing impatient concerning Israel’s stated aim of wiping out Hamas.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is now demanding an end to the truce, which his ultra-conservative Otzma Yehudit party has opposed from the beginning.
He’s even threatening to break apart the governing coalition under Prime Minister Netanyahu. Ben-Gvir posted to X this week in Hebrew:
“Stopping the war = breaking apart the government.”
It’s being widely reported as a clear threat to collapse the unity ruling coalition government; however, it remains unclear whether his party’s exit would ultimately fragment the coalition at this moment of war and national emergency.
On Thursday a pair of Palestinian gunmen unleashed M16 and pistol fire on a crowd waiting at a Jerusalem bus stop, killing three Israelis and injuring 16.
Shortly after the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility.
The Hamas statement said “the operation came as a natural response to unprecedented crimes conducted by the occupation” and further called for “an escalation of the resistance.”
Ben Gvir quickly pointed out that this means Hamas has broken the truce, and that Israel should continue attacking Gaza:
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir argued that Hamas had broken the truce, centered around fighting in Gaza, after the organization claimed responsibility for a Thursday terror attack in Jerusalem. Less than an hour after Thursday’s truce extension was finalized, the shooting attack killed three Israelis.
“With one hand Hamas signs a ceasefire, with the other it sends terrorists to murder Jews in Jerusalem,” the police minister, who was against the pause in fighting to begin with, said in a Thursday statement released by his Otzma Yehudit party.
“This is not a ceasefire but rather a continuation of the conception of containment [of terror attacks] and concession that brought us murdered people, which gives [Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya] Sinwar hope that he can exit this conflict with the upper hand,” he continued.
Ben Gvir declared in his Thursday statement, “We have to stop deals with the devil, and return immediately to the fight, with rare strength.”
PM Netanyahu’s words conveyed to US Secretary of State Blinken on the same day appeared geared toward assuaging these growing voices that are critical of the truce. “I told him we have sworn, and I have sworn, to destroy Hamas. Nothing will stop us,” he informed a post-meeting press conference.
Netanyahu later in the day issued a statement specifically reacting to Ben-Gvir, insisting that the war against Hamas would continue until Hamas is eliminated: “There is no situation in which we do not go back to fighting until the end,” the prime minister stressed. “This is my policy. The entire Security Cabinet is behind it. The entire Government is behind it. The soldiers are behind it. The people are behind it — this is exactly what we will do.”