TEL AVIV: A high-level Israeli ministerial meeting convened to discuss post-war administration plans for Gaza following Israel’s conflict with Hamas descended into a heated and acrimonious dispute between ministers and military leaders.
Early Friday reports suggest that right-wing politicians, including members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed army investigation into its own errors.
The clash involved criticisms directed at Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, focusing on the timing of the inquiry and the involvement of a former defense minister. The Times of Israel reported this development on Friday.
This confrontation exposed longstanding tensions between the military and some factions within the hard-right coalition, revealing divisions in the unified front presented by the cabinet since the outbreak of the conflict three months ago.
The incident occurred as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepared for crucial discussions in the region regarding plans to de-escalate hostilities and eventually transfer civilian control of Gaza.
Hebrew media reports, quoting unnamed participants, indicated that Netanyahu abruptly ended the meeting after three hours, marked by heated arguments in defense of Halevi. Some ministers reportedly left the meeting early in apparent protest against their treatment.
The dispute unfolded as Halevi announced the formation of a committee of former defense officials to investigate the military’s shortcomings leading up to Hamas’s attacks on southern Israel on October 7.
These attacks left the military ill-prepared and ineffective for hours, resulting in significant casualties and the capture of over 240 hostages.
During the meeting, Transportation Minister Miri Regev questioned Halevi about the inquiry, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Regional Cooperation Minister David Amsalem also joining in, seeking clarification on why the investigation was initiated while hostilities in Gaza were still ongoing.