Gantz’s support contrasts with renewed threats from Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who publicly declared their opposition to supporting the agreement.

Benny Gantz, former member of the Israeli war cabinet and leader of the opposition party National Unity, expressed on Friday his party’s support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for any agreement that would ensure the return of Israeli captives currently held in Gaza.

According to Israeli Army Radio, Gantz spoke with Netanyahu by phone to discuss the proposed agreement with Hamas regarding the captives’ return. 

Gantz’s office released a statement affirming that his party “will provide full backing to any responsible deal that will lead to the return of the hostages.”

The ‘National Unity’ party, which holds seats in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), could be a key player in securing the agreement’s approval if it comes to a parliamentary vote, as noted in the statement.

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Gantz’s support contrasts with renewed threats from Itamar Ben-Gvir, Minister of National Security and leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, and Bezalel Smotrich, Minister of Finance and leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party. 

Both have warned they would withdraw from Netanyahu’s government if an agreement with Hamas is reached.

During a Cabinet meeting, Ben-Gvir reportedly told Netanyahu, “If you make decisions unilaterally, it’s your responsibility, and you’ll be left alone,” as reported by the Israeli daily Israel Hayom. Smotrich has also publicly declared his opposition to supporting the agreement.

Official Israeli sources indicate that indirect negotiations between Tel Aviv and Hamas have resumed, focusing on a prisoner exchange and a ceasefire in Gaza. David Barnea, head of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, has traveled to Doha, Qatar, for discussions with mediators facilitating the deal.

As of Friday, details of Hamas’s response, which was relayed to Israel via mediators on Wednesday, have not been disclosed by Israel, Hamas, or the mediators.

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Ongoing Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 38,000 Palestinians have been killed, and 87,445 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’. 

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Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Later in the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians began moving from the south to central Gaza in a constant search for safety. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

The post ‘Full Backing’ – Gantz Offers Support for Gaza Prisoner Exchange Deal appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

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