Netanyahu Seeks Support from Likud Party for US-Backed Ceasefire Proposal

Jerusalem, June 4, 2024 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun efforts to persuade ministers and lawmakers from his Likud Party who oppose a ceasefire proposal announced by US President Joe Biden last Friday.

Netanyahu has yet to publicly endorse the ceasefire plan. However, the Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported that Netanyahu and his office have initiated discussions with Knesset members from Likud who are believed to be against negotiating with Hamas.

This move follows threats from National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to destabilize the government if Netanyahu agrees to Biden’s proposal. Netanyahu’s outreach to his party members reflects concerns about maintaining the ruling coalition amidst potential dissent from Ben-Gvir and Smotrich.

On Tuesday, Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf, leader of the United Torah Judaism Party, along with several Likud ministers, expressed support for the ceasefire proposal, emphasizing the importance of any agreement that facilitates the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also urged Netanyahu to accept Biden’s ceasefire plan, offering political backing to achieve the deal.

Biden’s proposal outlines a three-phase agreement, starting with a six-week ceasefire. During this period, the initial release of hostages in Gaza, including women, the elderly, and the injured, would occur in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Israeli forces would withdraw from densely populated areas, setting the stage for a longer-term rebuilding process in Gaza and the return of all hostages.

Israel has continued its offensive in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas incursion, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire. The ongoing conflict has resulted in over 36,500 Palestinian deaths, mostly women and children, and nearly 83,000 injuries, according to local health authorities. Gaza remains in ruins, suffering from a severe blockade that restricts access to food, clean water, and medicine.

The International Court of Justice has accused Israel of genocide and has ordered an immediate halt to operations in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians sought refuge before the area was invaded on May 6.–News Desk