Israeli ministers threaten to resign over cease-fire proposal

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Two Israeli far-right ministers have threatened to resign from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government over a cease-fire proposal outlined by President Biden on Friday. 

Both National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on the social media platform X that the deal could not be forged unless the Palestinian militant group Hamas is destroyed first and that they would remove their parties from the coalition if the current proposal is adopted.  

Biden unveiled a new Israeli-led proposal that was submitted to Hamas through Qatar. It includes a three-part road map toward releasing all remaining hostages taken on Oct. 7 and a pathway to a full cease-fire. It would include pulling Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from Gaza’s populated areas and include reconstruction efforts for the Gaza Strip. 

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Ben-Gvir slammed the offer, saying the war would end without Hamas being wiped out. 

“This is a reckless deal, which constitutes a victory for terrorism and a security threat to the State of Israel,” he said Saturday on X. 

Smotrich had a similar assessment. 

“We demand the continuation of the war until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages return,” he said while also stating that he is opposed to returning displaced Palestinians to Gaza’s north side. 

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Netanyahu said that the conditions for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war “have not changed.” 

“Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: The destruction of Hamas military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” he said on Saturday. 

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said he would back the hostage proposal “if Ben-Gvir and Smotrich leave the government.”

With both Smotrich and Ben-Gvir parties potentially leaving, the prime minister could lose the majority in the parliament. 

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On the ground, the fighting has continued in Rafah, the city in the south of Gaza. The war, now getting close to eight months in duration, started after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that killed around 1,200 Israelis and resulted in around 250 taken hostage. Since then, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials.

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