Israeli Opposition Leader Offers To Support Netanyahu If He Accepts Hostage Deal

Ministers in the Netanyahu government are threatening to quit if there's a ceasefire deal with Hamas

Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday said he would support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he reaches a hostage and ceasefire deal with Hamas.

Netanyahu’s coalition government holds 64 out of the 120 seats in the Knesset, meaning only five members would need to quit for it to lose the majority, which would dissolve the government and force elections.

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir has threatened that his Jewish Power party, which holds six seats, would quit the government if Netanyahu agrees to a deal with Hamas. Polling shows that Netanyahu would lose if there were new elections, giving him the motive to continue the genocidal war to maintain his hold on power.

Yair Lapid, who leads the Yesh Atid party, which holds 24 seats in the Knesset, has previously offered to bail Netanyahu out if he reached a hostage deal and coalition members quit.

“There‚Äôs a hostage deal on the table. It is not true that Netanyahu has to choose between the hostage deal and his continued tenure as prime minister. I promised him a safety net, and I will keep that promise,” Lapid said, according to The Times of Israel.

“This is not an easy statement, and it is not an easy decision. Netanyahu is a bad, failed prime minister, and he is to blame for the October 7 disaster, but the most important thing is to bring the kidnapped people back home,” he added.

Lapid also criticized Netanyahu for releasing a list of “non-negotiable” demands for a hostage deal ahead of renewed indirect talks with Hamas. Included in the list is a requirement that Israel will be able to restart military operations in Gaza, but Hamas’s primary demand has been a permanent ceasefire.

According to media reports, Qatari and Egyptian have gotten Hamas to soften its stance and accept vague enough language that Israel could accept without actually committing to a permanent ceasefire. But Israeli officials say that by explicitly ruling out a permanent truce in his list of demands, Netanyahu was trying to sabotage the chances of a deal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.