Netanyahu cancels Security Cabinet meeting, ignoring Bennett’s demands

Netanyahu canceled the Security Cabinet meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday, despite, or perhaps because of, Bennett’s demands.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the Security Cabinet meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday despite Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s demand that Cabinet ministers be given more say into the security situation. No new date for the meeting has been set.

Bennett wrote to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit demanding that he instruct Netanyahu to convene the Security Cabinet to discuss the recent attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Bennett sent the letter after Netanyahu announced on Saturday evening that an Israel-Hamas agreement was expected to be signed within the next few days.

Netanyahu, in a video post on his Facebook page, said “After the Sabbath, I told our forces to remain in place. We don’t know if this calm will continue, and we are ready for every development. This is how we manage things: We use force when necessary, and we avoid, if possible, unnecessary wars.”

“It is inconceivable to me that the management of security events of such import, including the progress towards a permanent or temporary settlement, is being carried out by the prime minister and the defense establishment only, without input from the Political-Security Cabinet ministers, who bear responsibility under the law to manage such affairs,” Bennett wrote.

“It doesn’t make sense that the prime minister is running events in Gaza by compartmentalizing Cabinet ministers,” Bennett wrote.

Bennett, who wants the job of defense minister, has been an outspoken critic of Netanyahu’s handling of the security threat from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel’s south has been targeted by hundreds of rockets and has seen the destruction of 1,000s of acres of land from incendiary kites and balloons.

“In the course of all these incidents, the State of Israel only acted in a selective way that does not create the deterrence required in the face of Hamas activity intended to harm the security of Israeli citizens,” Bennett wrote.

In the letter, Bennett said he had approached the prime minister’s military secretary and the head of the National Security Council to convene the cabinet meeting, but he was ignored.

Media reports say Netanyahu may have canceled the meeting to avoid giving Bennett a platform for criticizing him. Bennett heads the New Right party and is running against the Likud in the elections.

Events in Israel’s south quickly escalated when a rocket from the Gaza Strip struck a house in central Israel last Monday, wounding seven people.

Israel moved reinforcements to the border with the Gaza Strip and issued a limited call-up for reserves. Netanyahu cut short his trip to the U.S. and visited the troops on the border on Thursday, saying afterwards that he instructed forces “to be prepared for a broad campaign.”

However, Egypt’s attempts to broker an agreement between the two sides appears to have borne fruit, although Hamas fired five rockets into Israel on Sunday morning.