Israel: War cabinet minister Gantz to travel to US without PM Netanyahu's 'approval'

Israel: War cabinet minister Gantz to travel to US without PM Netanyahu's 'approval'
Gantz's upcoming visit to the US has reportedly triggered tensions between him and Netanyahu, as trips must be approved first by the Prime Minister.
2 min read
02 March, 2024
Gantz and Netanyahu are members of Israel's war cabinet, set up at the onset of the war in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz will reportedly travel to the US on Sunday to carry out a series of meetings without coordinating with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli media reported.

Gantz’s visit to Washington has caused a rift between him and Netanyahu, Israeli news website Ynet said on Friday, as trips organised without the premier's approval are "contrary to government regulations".

Netanyahu has made clear to Gantz that Israel "only has one prime minister," the outlet reported.

The war cabinet minister is set to travel to the UK capital London following his trip to Washington.

Gantz’s visit comes as the US has continued efforts to help mediate a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in time for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which due to begin around March 10.

On Friday, President Joe Biden said he was "hopeful" for a ceasefire agreement, though a deal has yet to be reached, he added.

Additionally, Gantz’s visit comes as Biden – a long-term ally of Israel – warned Tel Aviv will risk "losing additional international support" if it maintains its "incredibly conservative government",  in reference to Netanyahu’s cabinet which has been described as the most extreme in Israel’s 70-year history.

The current cabinet also consists of a number of ministers who have made incendiary comments expressing racism towards Palestinians and calling for violence against civilians in Gaza. Among them are National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Social Equality Minister May Golan.

Reports also emerged in January that the Biden administration was "running out of patience" with Netanyahu over its lack of willingness to scale down its military onslaught in Gaza, as well as his rejection of a two-state solution for the Palestinian territories.

Israel has waged a brutal military offensive in the Gaza Strip since October 7, killing at least 30,320 Palestinians as of Saturday, mostly women and children. Many of Israel's actions have been described as war crimes and genocide.

Additionally, claims have surfaced that Gantz is "attempting to persuade" Likud ministers to promote him replacing Netanyahu as Prime Minister, Israeli Army Radio earlier this month, fuelling rumours of tensions among the war cabinet members.

However, during the beginning of the war in Gaza in October, Gantz opposed calls to oust Netanyahu despite significant disapproval with the latter's leadership.