Skip to main content

Netanyahu, Sinwar play for time on Gaza cease-fire

The Israeli prime minister is in no rush for a showdown with the right over the Gaza Strip as attention shifts to Hezbollah.
Jack Guez/Getty Images

Playing for time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fine with Hamas’s rejection of his cease-fire plan this week. He's playing for time, and may be more concerned about his next steps if or when Hamas' Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar accepts the proposal. 

As Ben Caspit explains this week, Netanyahu never liked the plan, but went along under pressure from his centrist war cabinet partners, former generals Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot (who have since left the government), the Biden administration and perhaps most importantly, the families of the over 100 Israelis still held captive by Hamas.

Netanyahu wants to avoid a showdown with his right flank, the parties led by Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, as long as possible. They don’t want a cease-fire and won’t accept anything but the destruction of Hamas as the end game for Gaza. Their combined 13 seats in the Knesset could bring down the government if they walk, as Netanyahu controls 63 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.