Israel war cabinet member Benny Gantz embraces a woman as he walks to meet with family members of hostages in Tel Aviv. Image Credit: REUTERS file

JERUSALEM: The centrist party of Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday it had submitted a bill to dissolve parliament and hold an early election.

“The head of the National Union Party, Pnina Tamano-Shata, has put forward a bill to dissolve the 25th Knesset. This follows the request of party leader Minister Benny Gantz to move forward in broad agreement to an election before October, a year since the massacre,” the party said in a statement.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party countered that “the dissolution of the unity government is a reward for (Hamas Gaza leader Yahya) Sinwar, a capitulation to international pressure and a fatal blow to efforts to free our hostages”.

An election is not scheduled before the final quarter of 2026 and the Likud has previously warned that holding one earlier would harm the army’s fight against Hamas in Gaza.

Also read

Gantz threatened this month to resign from the war cabinet unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approves a post-war plan for the Gaza Strip.

Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government shortly after the Hamas-led attack on southern Israeli communities on October 7 last year that sparked the war in Gaza.

Gantz’s centrist bloc split up in March and his party does not on its own control enough seats in parliament to bring down the ruling coalition.

Netanyahu has also come under criticism from Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for failing to rule out an Israeli occupation of Gaza after the war.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,224 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.