Benjamin Netanyahu dissolves Israeli war cabinet, officials say

Israel's prime minister has dissolved the country's influential war cabinet tasked with steering the conflict in Gaza, according to officials.

The widely-expected move came a week after opposition legislator Benny Gantz left the government, having joined the coalition in the early days of the war.

He had demanded the formation of a small cabinet as a way to sideline far-right lawmakers in Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Mr Gantz, Mr Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant were three of the body's six members and made key decisions together throughout the war.

Speaking anonymously, the officials said Mr Netanyahu will from now on hold smaller forums with some of his government members for sensitive issues.

Israel and Hamas are weighing the latest proposal for a ceasefire, as pivotal decisions lie ahead for Mr Netanyahu's government.

Israel's troops are still fighting in Gaza, while violence continues with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the north.

Hostilities continue in the southern Gazan city of Rafah despite Israel's announcement on Sunday of tactical pauses, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told reporters on Monday.

On Saturday, eight Israeli soldiers were killed in a blast in Rafah, the Israeli military said, as the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza since the war started topped 37,000, according to the Hamas-run health authorities.

Israel began its operation in Gaza after Hamas militants burst out of the territory and killed 1,200 people on 7 October and took scores more hostage.

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Mr Netanyahu has faced conflicting pressures between growing international opposition to the war and his own government partners.

Allies including the US have called on Israel to limit its attacks, while ministers such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir have threatened to topple the government if it moves ahead with a ceasefire deal.

The latest proposal being considered is part of the Joe Biden administration's most concentrated push to wind down the war.

But, for now, progress on a deal appears to remain elusive.

Critics say Mr Netanyahu's wartime decision-making has been influenced by the ultranationalists in his government and by his desire to remain in power.

Mr Netanyahu denies the accusations and maintains he has his country's best interests in mind.