Every Hamas member is a dead man, Netanyahu says
Following the inaugural meeting of Israel’s emergency government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that every Hamas member was “in mortal danger.”
In tandem with this sentiment, opposition figure Benny Gantz emphasized that it was “a moment for conflict.” Conversely, U.S. President Joe Biden conveyed his conversation with Mr. Netanyahu, emphasizing that Israel should adhere to the rules of engagement during warfare. The death toll in Israel has climbed to 1,200, with over 1,100 casualties resulting from Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
President Biden acknowledged the Israeli people’s anger and frustration while urging Israel to abide by the principles outlined in the Geneva Conventions. He also issued a caution to Iran, which had shown support for the Hamas attack, advising them to exercise caution.
Earlier on that Wednesday, Netanyahu and Gantz set aside their acrimonious political rivalry, which had led to widespread protests. Gantz assured Israeli citizens that the newly-formed government was “unified” and prepared to eradicate what they referred to as “Hamas from the face of the Earth.”
In addition to Netanyahu, Gantz, and the centrist National Unity Party leader (a former defense minister), the interim cabinet would also include Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The primary opposition leader, Yair Lapid, did not join the alliance; however, Netanyahu and Gantz expressed their intention to reserve a seat for him in the war cabinet through a joint statement.
“During the war period, no bills or government decisions will be promoted that do not concern the conduct of the war,” said a statement.
“All senior appointments will be automatically extended during the war period.”
The emergency government will give a broader national consensus to military action. It also brings to the war cabinet two voices who are experts in military strategy. Both Mr Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, who joins as an observer, are former Israeli military chiefs of staff.
The announcement of the new cabinet came in the wake of savage attacks by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip.
More than 1,200 people have died in Israel since the surprise Hamas attack on Saturday. Hamas is also known to have taken up to 150 people hostage, including elderly people and children.
On Wednesday Israel’s military said thousands of troops were ready near the border with Gaza for a potential land invasion.
As well as attacks by Hamas, Israel has also exchanged fire with the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and forces in Syria.
Earlier this week, Mr Gallant announced a retaliatory siege of the Palestinian territory – meaning all energy, water, and food supplies have stopped. More than 1,000 people have died there in air strikes so far.
The formation of a unity government in Israel has been welcomed by ministers including Itamar Ben Gvir, who handles national security.
“Congratulations on the unity, now we have to win,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
The announcement that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz would work together comes after months of protests against attempts by the prime minister and his government to push through controversial judicial reforms.
The demonstrators were supported by Mr Netanyahu’s political rivals, as well as former top officials in Israel’s military, intelligence and security services, former chief justices, and prominent legal figures and business leaders among others.
Hundreds of military reservists, including air force pilots crucial to Israel’s defense, had threatened to refuse to report for service – leading to warnings that it could impair Israel’s military capabilities.
Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court convened to hear petitions against one of the government’s legal amendments, which would limit their own powers.