PM Benjamin Nentanyahu has proven to have failed in facing the war against Hamas. Photo/Reuters
GAZA – The winds are starting to turn against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s war on Gaza passes its sixth week.
Polls show national support for Netanyahu and his governing coalition is crumbling, although Israel continues to provide overwhelming support for the war against Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.
CNN reported opposition parties initially supported Israel’s war effort, with United National Party leader Benny Gantz joining the wartime government – but divisions began to emerge.
On Wednesday, the country’s opposition leader Yair Lapid said it was time for the six-term prime minister to step down, and called on Netanyahu’s Likud party to oust him. But Lapid did not call for new elections, and instead said that Likud should nominate an alternative leader.
Hostage negotiations are protracted: Israel, Hamas and the United States, with the Gulf state of Qatar acting as mediator, have struggled to reach agreement on a number of key points regarding the pause to allow the release of the hostages.
Key points include how many days the potential lull in fighting will last, the number of hostages to be released, and Hamas’ demand that Israel stop flying surveillance drones in Gaza.
The move to reduce pressure on the civilian population in the besieged enclave has angered Netanyahu’s unruly government – the most right-wing cabinet in Israel’s history.
Some families demanded that the government consider an “everyone for everyone deal,” proposed by Hamas. Such a deal would involve a hostage exchange for all Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons – about 6,630 people, according to estimates by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
While the exchange may raise concerns in the current situation, a prisoner exchange in 2011 saw kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.