Opposition leader calls on Netanyahu to resign as Israeli army now threatens to attack areas of southern Gaza

Yaïr Lapid accuses the Prime Minister and the security apparatus under his leadership of an “unforgivable failure” for not having prevented the Hamas attack on October 7.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over what he called the government’s mishandling of the war against Hamas.

“Netanyahu must leave now during the fighting,” the Yesh Atid party leader told Channel 12 on Wednesday, the first time he has openly called for the prime minister’s departure since the war began.

Lapid called for a vote of no confidence in Parliament that would allow the formation of a new government led by a different prime minister. The politician accuses Netanyahu and the security apparatus under his leadership of an “unforgivable failure” for failing to prevent the October 7 attack, which killed some 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 200.

“We will sit (in the government) with another Likud candidate,” he said, adding that he was in talks with the ruling party’s leaders on the issue. “There are a lot of people out there who understand that the country is headed for a bad time,” he added.

Four days after the surprise Hamas attack, Netanyahu and another opposition leader, Benny Gantz, announced a deal to form an “emergency government” for the duration of the war, but Lapid refused to join. .

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid makes a statement in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on February 13, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Lapid said he was ready to create a “national reconstruction government” led by Likud, with the ultra-Orthodox parties, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu and Benny Gantz’s National Unity, but stressed that “Netanyahu cannot not direct it.”

This is the first time Lapid has called for Netanyahu’s resignation, saying the situation does not warrant early elections, but rather that the parties should opt for national reconstruction with another prime minister from the current Likud party. Prime Minister.

In a statement posted on Telegram, Likud immediately rejected the call, saying such a “wartime” proposal was “shameful.”

More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began bombing the enclave following the October 7 attack. The UN Security Council on Wednesday approved a resolution calling for “urgent and prolonged humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” to allow the delivery of aid and medical evacuations, “corridors in the entire Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days” to protect civilians. , especially children, and called for the unconditional release of captives held in Gaza.

Israeli soldiers inspect the entrance to what they say is a tunnel used by militants from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, November 9, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Elsewhere, Israel dropped leaflets in southern Gaza calling on Palestinian civilians to leave four towns in the far east of Khan Yunis, raising fears that its war against Hamas could extend to areas it previously considered safe.

The leaflets told civilians in Bani Shuhaila, Khuza’a, Abassan and al-Qarara that anyone found near the militants or their positions was “putting their lives in danger”, local residents told Reuters.

“For their safety, they must immediately evacuate their places of residence and go to known shelters… Anyone who approaches the terrorists or their installations puts their life in danger, and every house used by the terrorists will be a target” , indicates the text. I read in the brochure.

Two-thirds of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million residents have been left homeless by the war and all available places in Khan Yunis and other southern towns are overcrowded.

Tens of thousands of people have fled from the north to the south of Gaza in recent weeks, crowding into U.N.-run shelters and family homes in Khan Yunis, the south’s largest city.

Abdul Raouf Al-Farra, a Palestinian of Polish nationality, who refuses to leave Gaza even after his neighborhood was targeted by Israeli strikes that damaged his house, walks near his home in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, Gaza, November 15, 2023. Photo: Reuters

On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ground operation would eventually “include both the north and the south.” “We will attack Hamas wherever it is,” he said.

Internet and phone services collapsed across the Gaza Strip on Thursday due to lack of fuel, the main Palestinian supplier said, causing a potentially long-term communications blackout even as Israel signaled its next offensive could targeting the south of the Strip from Gaza, where most of the population has taken refuge.

On Thursday morning, the IDF said Israeli warplanes attacked the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. In a social media post including a video purportedly showing the attack, the IDF detailed that the house “was used as a terrorist infrastructure and meeting point for senior Hamas leaders to direct terrorist attacks against Israel.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, separate from Hamas, said its fighters were involved in “fierce clashes” with Israeli forces near the Al Shifa hospital complex, the BBC reported.

Israeli soldiers fire during an IDF operation against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in a location indicated as Gaza, November 16, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Hundreds of patients, including newborns, have been suffering for days without electricity or other basic needs.

The hospital has become a strategic target for Israel, which claims there is a Hamas command center in bunkers below, which Hamas and hospital staff deny.

An IDF official said Thursday that troops were still inside the hospital complex, searching one building at a time in a “discreet, methodical and exhaustive manner.”

He added that the IDF had located weapons, intelligence equipment, military technology and equipment, command and control centers and communications equipment belonging to Hamas. He explained that information and images about hostages kidnapped in Israel were found on computers and other technological equipment. The official did not provide any evidence.

Munir al-Boursh, a senior hospital official, said troops ransacked the basement and other buildings and questioned and examined the faces of patients, staff and those housed at the facility, he said. reported the Associated Press.

The Israeli army on Thursday found the body of an Israeli hostage in a building near Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where Israel considers the main military infrastructure of the Islamist group Hamas to be located.

Israeli soldiers inspect the Al Shifa hospital complex in Gaza City, November 15, 2023. Photo: Reuters

The body found was identified as that of Yehudit Weiss, a 65-year-old woman kidnapped on October 7 by Palestinian militiamen in Kibbutz Beeri, an Israeli community close to Gaza, an Israeli army spokesperson reported. who explained that his body “had been extracted”. by Israeli troops from a structure adjacent to the Al Shifa Medical Center and transferred to Israel.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, warned that five weeks into the war, “massive outbreaks of infectious diseases and famine” seemed inevitable in the densely populated Palestinian territory. He predicted catastrophic consequences if fuel supplies ran out, including the collapse of sewage and health care systems and the end of already scarce humanitarian aid.

Only 10% of the food needed since the Israeli blockade enters the Gaza Strip, the United Nations World Food Program quantified this Thursday. The situation is getting worse by the minute and the UN refugee agency has said Israel is trying to “strangle” its humanitarian operations in the Palestinian enclave.

Source: Latercera


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