update deskIsrael at War

Gazans celebrate: ‘Gantz retreated, so, too, will Netanyahu’

Hamas: Gantz's resignation "points to the downfall" of Israel's political system.

National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz holds a press conference in Ramat Gan, May 18, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz holds a press conference in Ramat Gan, May 18, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Video footage emerged on Sunday night of Palestinians in northern Gaza celebrating after War Cabinet minister Benny Gantz announced he would withdraw his party from Israel’s unity government.

The video clip, first posted to X on the account of a pro-Hamas journalist named Hossam Shabat, was captioned in Arabic: “The joy of citizens in northern Gaza after Gantz announced his resignation.”

One man can be heard saying in the video: “Just as he [Gantz] retreated, so too will [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Iran’s Press TV on Monday that Gantz’s decision to leave the government “points to the downfall of the regime’s [Israel’s] political system.

“There is no end in sight to the resignation of the Zionist regime’s political and military figures,” claimed Abu Zuhri.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Al Jazeera cited a spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry as saying on Monday that “the repeated resignations in the government of the Zionist entity indicate its collapse from within.”

Speaking at a press conference in Ramat Gan on Sunday, Gantz announced his National Unity Party eight lawmakers’ departure from the government formed in the days after Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

“Unfortunately, Netanyahu is stopping us from reaching true victory,” said the former Israel Defense Forces chief. “Therefore, we are leaving the unity government today. With a heavy heart, but wholeheartedly.”

Gantz called on the remaining 64 members of Netanyahu’s coalition to “listen to their conscience,” singling out Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who has frequently clashed with the premier.

Netanyahu issued a statement on X urging Gantz to reconsider his decision, saying “this is not the time to abandon the campaign [against Hamas]—this is the time to join forces.”

On Monday morning, youth activists of Israel’s Religious Zionism Party left a flower bouquet at the door of Gantz’s office at the Knesset.

“Benny Gantz, thank you! With love and appreciation, Yahya Sinwar,” a note placed with the flowers read, a reference to the terrorist leader in Gaza.

The activists said, “We all saw the thousands of Gazans who celebrated after [Gantz’s] address. During wartime, we need to be united against the enemy and not be divided by cheap political considerations. We call on all of Israel: Now is the time for unity. Only united will we win.

“Gantz’s address was a gift to Sinwar and the Hamas terrorist group. As they aim to divide the citizens of Israel to hurt them, Gantz gave them exactly what they want with his move,” they added.

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