Eisenkot accuses PM of delaying Rafah offensive by three months due to personal, political interests

National Unity lawmaker Gadi Eisenkot is seen in an interview with Channel 12, June 15, 2024. (Screenshot, Channel 12, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
National Unity lawmaker Gadi Eisenkot is seen in an interview with Channel 12, June 15, 2024. (Screenshot, Channel 12, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

National Unity party lawmaker Gadi Eisenkot, who served as a war cabinet observer from the start of the war in Gaza until his party’s departure from government last Sunday, accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of refusing to hold a vote authorizing the IDF’s operating in Rafah, causing it to be delayed by three months.

In an interview with Channel 12, Eisenkot, a former IDF chief of staff, says that the Netanyahu he worked with over the last eight months was “a different Netanyahu” to the one he previously worked with when it came to making decisions.

In previous years, Netanyahu would have made decisions “based purely on security considerations,” Eisenkot says. “Here, I saw decisions being made entirely differently, with delays…with antics.”

“Even the story of the invasion of Rafah was simmering away for three months,” he continues. “Over on their [media] channels, they report that Gadi Eisenkot and Benny Gantz are the ones who deleted the attack on Rafah, that the prime minister is determined and wants to proceed in Rafah, only we’re the ones holding him back.

“On the contrary,” Eisenkot says, accusing the prime minister of stretching out the process “like chewing gum.”

He tells Channel 12 that he believes Netanyahu did so both for personal and political interests.

In a statement released minutes after Eisenkot’s accusation, the Likud party accuses him of lying.

“In stark contrast to Eisenkot’s claim, the prime minister was the one who pushed for action in Rafah, even at the cost of a confrontation with the Americans,” the statement reads. “The Prime Minister makes decisions all the time, just not the ones which Eisenkot and Gantz pushed for, which would mean surrendering to Hamas.

“The prime minister’s stances are derived solely from national security considerations, which the majority of the public supports, and not from any kind of political pressure,” Likud adds, accusing Gantz and Eisenkot of bolting the emergency coalition due to a downward trend in election polls.

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