Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant, Benny Gantz
© Abir Sultan/Pool Photo/APFrom left, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz speak during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel on Oct. 28, 2023. Israeli officials said Monday, June 17, that Netanyahu has dissolved the influential War Cabinet that was tasked with steering the war in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved his war cabinet that was responsible for key decisions relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict, officials told the Associated Press.

The move comes after war cabinet minister Benny Gantz quit last week, saying the prime minister was making "total victory impossible." In announcing his resignation, Gantz said the government needs to put the return of the hostages seized Oct. 7 by Hamas "above political survival."

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the change with the media, said that going forward Netanyahu would hold smaller forums with some of his government members for sensitive issues surrounding the war.

Critics say Netanyahu's wartime decision-making has been influenced by ultranationalists in his government who oppose a deal that would bring about a cease-fire in exchange for the release of hostages, according to the AP. Netanyahu denies the accusations and says he has the country's best interests in mind.

The War Cabinet was formed in the early days of the war, when Gantz, a centrist opposition party leader, joined the coalition in a show of unity following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.

It included Gantz, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant -- and together they made important decisions throughout the course of the war.

"Months after the October disaster, the situation in the country and in the decision-making cabinet has changed. Netanyahu and his partners have turned unity into a void call who has no cover. Fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations," Gantz said in announcing his resignation. "Netanyahu is preventing us from progressing to a real victory. That is why we are leaving the emergency government today with a heavy heart, but with a whole heart."

"This is the time for unity and not for division," Netanyahu later wrote on X. "We must remain united within ourselves in the face of the great tasks before us. I call on Benny Gantz - do not leave the emergency government. Don't give up on unity."