How will Netanyahu's new War Cabinet affect ceasefire efforts?

Credit: ITV News

Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the War Cabinet that unified the Israeli government and directed the conflict in Gaza after one of its key members quit the group last week.

The move was widely expected following the departure of Benny Gantz, a centrist former military chief, earlier this month.

Gantz’s absence from the Government increases Netanyahu’s dependence on his ultranationalist allies, who oppose a ceasefire, which could pose an additional challenge to the already fragile negotiations to end the eight-month war in Gaza.

Netanyahu will now oversee the war with a smaller group of government officials, which includes his far-right allies who support reoccupying Gaza.

But what does Netanyahu's latest move mean for the prospect of a ceasefire? ITV News explains.

Benny Gantz quit last week. Credit: AP

How will Israel’s wartime policies likely change?

The disbanding of the War Cabinet further distances Netanyahu from centrist politicians who are more open to negotiating a ceasefire deal with Hamas.

Ceasefire talks failed as both groups have been reluctant to fully endorse a US-backed plan that would return hostages, clear the way for an end to the war and start a rebuilding effort in Gaza.

Netanyahu will now rely on members of his security cabinet, some of whom oppose ceasefire deals and support reoccupying Gaza.

After Gantz’s departure, Israel’s ultranationalist national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, demanded inclusion in a renewed war Cabinet. 

Dissolving the War Cabinet could help keep Ben-Gvir at a distance, but it can not sideline him altogether.

The move allows Netanyahu the freedom to extend the war to maintain power, amid accusations from critics that delaying its end could avoid scrutiny of government failures on October 7 and increase the chances of early elections, at a time when the prime minister's popularity is waning.

Gideon Rahat, chairman of the political science department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “It means that he (Netanyahu) will make all the decisions himself, or with people that he trusts who don’t challenge him and his interest is in having a slow-attrition war.”

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