NewsDwindling support for Israel's PM Netanyahu signals advantage for rival Gantz amid spar over military action in Rafah

Dwindling support for Israel's PM Netanyahu signals advantage for rival Gantz amid spar over military action in Rafah

Dwindling support for Israel's PM Netanyahu signals advantage for rival Gantz amid spar over military action in Rafah
Images source: © GETTY | Alexi J. Rosenfeld

10:26 AM EST, February 18, 2024

As a former chief of staff and the current defense minister in the Israeli cabinet, Gantz currently enjoys superior poll results. If elections were to happen today, Gantz's party, the center-right National Unity, would garner twice as much support as Netanyahu's party, Likud.

These trying circumstances for the Prime Minister are speculated to be the reason for his eagerness to assault Rafah. This city, located far south of the Gaza Strip on the Egyptian border, could potentially boost his poll results. Yet, the generals and the pragmatic faction in the war cabinet, led by Gantz, favor resuming negotiations for hostage releases.

Even though Rafah is a critical Hamas stronghold, the "Economist" warns that an assault could have severe repercussions. The city serves as a refuge for over a million Palestinians fleeing from war, and an attack could trigger substantial tensions between Israel and Egypt.

Currently, negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of hostages are stagnating. On Saturday, Netanyahu declared at a press conference in Jerusalem that Hamas, who insists on the withdrawal of troops from the Gaza Strip, were living in a fantasy. He further added that Israel would not relinquish its military pressure.

On the same day, a demonstration occurred in Tel Aviv, where participants expressed dismay at the Prime Minister's decision not to send an Israeli delegation to Cairo for negotiations. They branded his decision a "death sentence" for the hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip and demanded swift elections.

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