Chaos in the Israeli War Council under Netanyahu’s “Unilateral” Decisions: The Full Story

2024-02-15 11:25:25

Netanyahu’s “unilateral” decisions are devastating the fate of the Israeli War Council

Israeli media revealed today (Thursday) that the fragile government alliance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was close to collapse after the two prominent ministers, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, discussed withdrawing from the war council, accusing Netanyahu of being alone in crucial decisions related to a possible prisoner exchange deal with the Hamas movement, according to What was reported by the Arab World News Agency.

This comes as the “Israeli Broadcasting Corporation” talks about another front of tension that Netanyahu is waging with leaders in the army and security services, after the Prime Minister sent his own observer from outside the security services to attend the Cairo talks with Egypt, Qatar and the United States regarding an expected prisoner exchange deal with the movement. “Hamas”, in which the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, and the head of the Shin Bet, Ronan Bar, participated from the Israeli side.

Israeli Minister Benny Gantz (dpa)

On Wednesday, Gantz and Eisenkot were almost completely excluded from the decision-making process regarding the Cairo summit, whether by the size of the mandate granted to the Israeli delegation or by preventing the delegation from heading again to Cairo to participate in a new round of negotiations, according to what was revealed in Israel from information circulated by the media.

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority revealed that the two Ministers in the War Council, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, were about to resign from the Council and leave the Netanyahu government, “but they decided to stay in view of the developments taking place on the Lebanese border and the heightened escalation there and because of the sensitivity of the issue of Israeli detainees held by the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.” Gaza”.

According to the Broadcasting Corporation, Netanyahu took the decision to prevent the delegation from heading to Cairo again, even though Mossad chief David Barnea and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar told him after their return to Israel that there was sufficient reason to continue negotiations in order to reach a new deal.

Netanyahu’s decision sparked a storm of protests, and the Broadcasting Authority quoted officials as saying that the Prime Minister is obstructing the completion of a prisoner exchange deal for personal reasons that do not take into account the public Israeli interest.

Gantz and Eisenkot met late on Wednesday night and decided, after joint discussion, to remain in the government at this stage, due to tensions on the northern front and because of the sensitivity of the kidnapped issue.

There was renewed talk in Israel about a crisis of trust between Netanyahu and the military establishment, and specialists in Israeli affairs told the Arab World News Agency that Netanyahu no longer trusted anyone, and he sent someone to monitor on his behalf to the Cairo meetings, until he reached the point of asking the Israeli delegation to listen. Just don’t negotiate.

There is also talk about Netanyahu rejecting a draft framework agreement prepared by the army and preventing the Israeli delegation from discussing it in Cairo. The Broadcasting Corporation said on Tuesday that Netanyahu sent his advisor Ofir Falk to the Cairo meeting to prevent the head of the Mossad from exceeding the mandate granted to him regarding negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal with the movement. “agitation”.

This is the first time that Falk participates in the meetings dedicated to negotiating a prisoner exchange deal.

The Broadcasting Authority revealed that Falk was included in the delegation to prevent any concession that did not agree with Benjamin Netanyahu’s opinion.

Channel 11 of the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation explained that Netanyahu rejected the new outlines for the release of the hostages drawn up by the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet and Major General Nitzan Alon, and a dispute broke out between them.

Disagreements in communication platforms

In an indication of the increasing intensity of the dispute between Netanyahu and the leaders of the security services, Netanyahu’s spokesman, Guy Levy, published a tweet on the “X” platform in which he attacked the leaders of the security services, but he deleted it hours later.

Levy wrote in his tweet: “It was not Netanyahu who received a warning call at 4 a.m. and went back to sleep,” referring to the security services’ leaders ignoring and ignoring the warnings that arrived before the October 7 attacks occurred.

He added: “It was also not Netanyahu who issued instructions to the Golani forces not to approach the border until nine in the morning on October 7.”

Ahmed Rafiq Awad, head of the Jerusalem Center for Studies, said that Netanyahu is not looking for the success of the prisoner exchange negotiations and wants this war to continue.

Awad pointed out to the Arab World News Agency that all of Netanyahu’s actions and decisions are in the direction of not reaching an agreement to exchange prisoners and stop the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

He added: “Even if he wants at some point to stop the war, he wants everything to be according to his standards. Even the negotiations that took place in Cairo, he wants them to remain focused only on the first phase of the exchange deal, and he does not want any talk about a political horizon or withdrawal of the Israeli army.”

Awad continued: “What Netanyahu wants is just to gain time and nothing more to achieve the remaining real, undeclared goals of the war on Gaza, which is to completely destroy the Strip, make it unlivable, and displace people. This is the real goal of the war and why what Netanyahu announces,” noting that The families of the Israeli detainees themselves have become convinced that Netanyahu does not want to free their children, and does not want the prisoner exchange deal to take place.

Awad explained that the Israeli delegation’s participation in the Cairo meeting was nothing more than a courtesy to US President Joe Biden, who phoned Netanyahu and asked him to participate in the meeting after the War Council’s decision was not to participate.

The director of the Yabous Center for Consulting and Strategic Studies, Suleiman Bisharat, believes that Netanyahu is in a state of confusion and does not trust the leaders of the security services, and does not want them to make decisions that are not in line with his position and opinion. That is why he sent his special advisor to the Cairo meeting to act as an observer to the head of the Mossad.

Bisharat said that the biggest loser in Israel from stopping the war is Netanyahu, who fears for his political future, and therefore does not want matters to reach the end point, and devotes all his efforts to obstructing diplomatic and political solutions.

Bsharat noted the state of tension between the army and the entire security establishment on the one hand, and Netanyahu on the other hand.

Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported last week that a dispute broke out between Netanyahu and the army due to the expected operation in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

While the army hesitates to carry out this operation in light of the widespread international rejection of it, Netanyahu is annoyed by the army’s stubbornness and accuses it of violating its instructions.

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