Coalition Tensions: Netanyahu instructs UK embassy not to aid Gantz during visit

This follows orders to Israel’s Washington embassy not to assist the war cabinet minister regarding his meetings with top White House officials earlier in the week.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Israel’s embassy in London not to aid War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz in any aspect of his current trip to London, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

As a result, Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely instructed her staff not to provide Gantz and his retinue any help with the local media, “despite the policy that every minister who goes there for a visit is to receive the Israeli embassy’s assistance,” said the report.

The embassy will not even aid the Shabak, Israel’s internal security agency, in its security coordination for the visit, including “logistical assistance,” said the report, such as arranging transportation.

Gantz’s office is reportedly taking care of all the details alone, and Gantz’s security is expected to remain airtight, with a “relevant Israeli entity” taking care of the details, the report continued.

When contacted by Channel 12, both the Foreign Ministry and the Shabak declined to comment, while the Prime Minister’s Office denied that such orders had been sent.

Read  Poll: 53% of Americans don't trust Netanyahu

Netanyahu had also reportedly ordered Israel’s Washington embassy not to assist the war cabinet minister regarding his meetings with top White House officials on Monday and Tuesday.

Israeli media had reported that Netanyahu was angered by Gantz, his foremost rival who is leading him recent polls, planning the trip without informing Netanyahu ahead of time – a claim Gantz denied in a public statement.

Netanyahu allies said that he shouldn’t have gone because “there is only one prime minister,” and that the trip had not been coordinated ahead of time with Netanyahu, as protocol dictates. Gantz’s office denied this, saying that he had personally informed the prime minister of his trip.

As a result, Israeli Ambassador Mike Herzog did not attend Gantz’s sit-downs with Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and U.S. Middle East envoy Brett McGurk.

The discussions centered around the issue of humanitarian aid to Gaza, where all his interlocutors insisted Israel must do more to alleviate Gazan suffering, the battle against Hamas, and a possible hostage deal.

Like Netanyahu, Gantz told the Americans that Israel must be allowed to finish off the terror organization’s last stronghold in Rafah, because, as he put it, “ending the war without clearing out Rafah is like sending a firefighter to extinguish 80% of the fire.”

Read  Blinken, Netanyahu meet amid push for hostage deal

Gantz is meeting with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Wednesday.

The former prime minister is expected to focus on the humanitarian aid issue as well.

During a debate in the House of Lords Tuesday, he said that “patience needs to run very thin and a whole series of warnings need to be given” to Gantz over the dearth of humanitarian assistance.

Cameron called Israel the “occupying power” in Gaza which means it has a “duty” under international humanitarian law to ensure the supply of food and medicine to the population.

Israel has not occupied Gaza since 2005.

In addition, international law experts have said that as a side to the conflict, Israel is under no obligation to give its opponent aid, but it can allow others to provide it.

Jerusalem has said it is willing to increase the flow of aid to Gazan civilians, even though officials have said they know that Hamas steals a good portion of it, thereby prolonging the war.