Ministers in Netanyahu’s government oppose a possible prisoner exchange deal with Hamas (Reuters)

Occupied Jerusalem -

The internal disputes in the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, regarding a possible prisoner exchange deal with the Hamas movement, reflect the features of the divisions in Israeli society and the differences in positions regarding the continuation of the war on the Gaza Strip, which has failed to achieve its goals.

Opposition to the potential exchange deal includes the head of the “Religious Zionism” coalition, Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and the head of the “Jewish Greatness” party, Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, as well as other ministers and members of the government, as Netanyahu faces at this stage his weakest political position in the right-wing camp since his career. Political.

Despite Netanyahu's experience in the field of political marketing and the alleged achievements during his tenure as prime minister, this task is not simple at all at this stage, with the strengthening of the Israelis' convictions that the war on Gaza has failed to achieve its goals. Perhaps this is the source of concern among the Israeli opposition over the fate of Exchange deal.

According to readings from Israeli analysts, Netanyahu is no longer able to provide guarantees to settlers that he will annex the West Bank or parts of the Gaza Strip, as well as sign more “Abrahamic Agreements” without paying any price, and remain on the horse of the prime minister’s chair.

Analysts' estimates unanimously agree that if Netanyahu actually reaches an exchange deal, he will take a risk that he has not taken since his first term, which includes a clear departure in a sharp issue against the extreme right, and it appears - according to Israeli estimates - that Netanyahu has no other choice or alternative.

Limited options

Regarding the Israeli disputes and division regarding the exchange deal, Haaretz political affairs editor Ravit Hecht says, “It is very difficult to predict the Israeli political scene, when the main players are a prime minister who excels in the art of evasion and procrastination, in order to preserve his political career and remain in the prime minister’s chair.” .

She added, "All indications indicate that reaching an agreement to release most of the kidnapped people in exchange for a ceasefire has become closer, as Netanyahu will have to take a risk against the far-right coalition partners that he has avoided for years, but it does not seem that he has another choice."

She explained that Israel is ultimately a point in the Middle East, even if at this stage it is a “weak point,” noting that the dynamics of regional and international discussions regarding a ceasefire have risen to high levels, as it has become clear that America, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have clear and immediate interests in ending the ceasefire. War and completing an exchange deal regardless of the position of the extreme Israeli right.

Hecht believes that the real challenge for Netanyahu will be to reach a deal with the right, and to promote the exchange and ceasefire deal as a “complete victory,” or rather a decisive step on this path, in contrast to the complex situation that Netanyahu is trying to impose, by continuing the war until the end. On Hamas, and refusing to liberate thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Netanyahu faces challenges within his government to strengthen the prisoner exchange deal with Hamas (Reuters)

Electoral recruitment

As for political affairs analyst at the Walla website, Tal Shilo, she believes that Netanyahu is using the swap deal negotiations in his upcoming election campaign, and is seeking that the deal - if completed - will boost his popularity, which has fallen to its lowest levels due to the war on Gaza.

It is likely that the disagreements within the government regarding the exchange deal or the ceasefire reflect signs of a rift in the far-right coalition, and the matter would contribute to the dismantling of the government and heading to early elections, according to consensus between the various political parties in the Knesset.

Shilo considered that Netanyahu's promises of "complete victory" aimed to dispel Israelis' awareness of the disaster and failure that Israel suffered under his leadership, and also to delay and carry over the scenarios of the day after the war on his political career.

However, Shilo says, “Commitment to complete victory guarantees that the war will not end soon, delays the political scenarios that threaten Netanyahu’s career, may overthrow the emergency government, and postpones the investigation into the failure of the events of October 7, and this is what will push the Israeli public to go out for widespread protests and demonstrations.” Until the overthrow of the Netanyahu government.”

For his part, spokesman for the “Peace Now” bloc, Adam Clare, said, “Netanyahu is seeking, through evasion and procrastination regarding the exchange deal, to escape forward and gain more time, and he may do the impossible in order to maintain the state of fighting and postpone the deal.”

He pointed out in statements to Al Jazeera Net that Netanyahu, who is looking for any manifestations of achievements from the war on Gaza, and to avoid the repercussions of the protests calling for early elections for the Knesset, will continue to evade in an effort to succeed in penetrating the position of his partners in the government coalition from The far-right parties, and he will work to convince them not to dismantle and overthrow his original government.

Despite the disagreements and divisions within Netanyahu's government coalition, which relies on 64 members of the Knesset, regarding the exchange deal and ending the war, Clare expects that if a deal is concluded and the ceasefire enters into force, Ben Gvir may not carry out his threats, and the settler parties and the extreme right may refrain from dropping The government because of a meeting of interests.


The Israeli spokesman does not rule out dismantling the war council and overthrowing the emergency government with the withdrawal of the head of the "National Camp", Benny Gantz, if Netanyahu continues to exploit the war for his goals and personal political reconciliation, as well as being dependent on the policies and agenda of the partners in the coalition from the extreme right parties and the Haredi religious parties.

It is believed that the war on Gaza, which “enjoys Israeli consensus due to the shock of the events of last October 7, and if it continues without achieving any of its goals of overthrowing Hamas’ rule, freeing the kidnapped Israelis, and Netanyahu’s evasion with the exchange deal, may lead to the dissipation of this consensus.”

Clare believed that "the practices and approaches of the far-right government with regard to the issue of kidnapped Israelis and the opposition of coalition partners to a possible deal will contribute to bringing the division and rift in Israeli society back to the forefront, as Israel will witness unprecedented protests in an indication of the rift of the far-right government, and the protests will escalate until it is overthrown and early elections are held."

Source: Al Jazeera