Israeli leaders air wartime divisions over Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced criticism from his own war cabinet, with his main political rival, Benny Gantz, threatening to leave the government if a plan is not formulated by June 8 that includes an international administration for post-war Gaza.

Netanyahu, who is opposed to Palestinian statehood, has rejected those proposals, saying Israel will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Gantz' withdrawal would not bring down Netanyahu's coalition government, but it would leave him more reliant on far-right allies who support the "voluntary emigration" of Palestinians from Gaza, full military occupation and the rebuilding of Jewish settlements there.

"The war cabinet must formulate and approve by June 8 an action plan that will lead to the realization of six strategic goals of national importance.. [or] we will be forced to resign from the government," Gantz said, referring to his party, in a televised address directed at Netanyahu.

Gantz said the six goals included toppling Hamas, ensuring Israeli security control over the Palestinian territory and returning Israeli hostages.

"Along with maintaining Israeli security control, establish an American, European, Arab and Palestinian administration that will manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip and lay the foundation for a future alternative that is not Hamas or [Mahmoud] Abbas," he said, referring to the president of the Palestinian Authority.

He also urged the normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia "as part of an overall move that will create an alliance with the free world and the Arab world against Iran and its affiliates."

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