NEW YORK, October 27. /TASS/. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to sign the order on beginning of a wide-scale ground operation in the Gaza Strip out of fear of losing trust of the people, should the operation fail, the New York Times reported citing sources in the Israeli government.
According to two sources, who were present during meetings of the emergency cabinet, Netanyahu "outraged senior officers by refusing to sign the plan" of the. His refusal, the sources note, was partially motivated by the Prime Minister’s desire to obtain a unanimous approval of this step from the emergency cabinet, established jointly with the opposition after the October 7 attacks.
The NYT claims that Netanyahu’s refusal indicates disagreements within the cabinet, with some ministers considering a less ambitious invasion plan, which includes several operations covering a small portion of the enclave instead of a single wide-scale one. Analysts say that the Prime Minister is unwilling to approve the action plan out of concerns that he will be blamed for the operation’s potential failure amid the falling public trust.
On October 25, Axios reported citing US officials that Netanyahu is skeptical about the armed forces’ command plans and intends to postpone the beginning of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip. According to Axios sources, the Prime Minister needs time to listen to different points of view and to provide the negotiators with more options to liberate hostages while the army prepares for the operation.
On October 24, the Times of Israel said that the Israeli ground operation in Gaza may be postponed for a long term or even not take place at all. Meanwhile, the IDF reported full readiness for a ground operation after over 550 rocket strikes, carried out within 16 days. According to CNN, Washington pressured Israel, urging it to postpone the operation and to release the hostages held in the enclave. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC that the Jewish state must make an independent decision in this regard, and the US can only advise.