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Netanyahu dissolves War Cabinet that directed Gaza conflict

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Ohad Zwigenberg/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Israeli officials say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the influential War Cabinet that was tasked with steering the war in Gaza.

The three-person War Cabinet was dissolved a week after Benny Gantz, a popular opposition lawmaker and former military chief, quit Netanyahu's governing coalition in frustration over how the war was being handled. In the early days of the war, Gantz demanded a small Cabinet with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant be formed as a way to sideline far-right lawmakers in Netanyahu’s government.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the change with the media, said Monday that going forward Netanyahu would hold smaller forums with some of his government members for sensitive issues.

Critics say Netanyahu’s wartime decision-making has been influenced by ultranationalists in his government who oppose a deal with Hamas for a cease-fire in exchange for the release of hostages. Those hard-line politicians have voiced support for the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians out of Gaza, currently home to some 2.3 million people, and a return to military occupation over the territory.

Netanyahu denies the accusations and says he has the country’s best interests in mind.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians who are facing widespread hunger.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

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