Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down “immediately”, amid Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas’s October 7 attack.
Lapid called for a no-confidence vote in parliament that would allow for the formation of a new government led by another prime minister.
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“Netanyahu should leave immediately … We need change, Netanyahu cannot remain prime minister,” Lapid said on Wednesday in an interview with an Israeli news channel.
Lapid accuses Netanyahu and the security apparatus under his leadership of an “unpardonable failure” for not preventing the October 7 attack.
“We cannot allow ourselves to carry out a long campaign under a prime minister who has lost the people’s trust,” he said.
Four days after Hamas’s surprise October 7 attack on Israel, Netanyahu and another opposition leader, Benny Gantz, announced an agreement to form an “emergency government” for the duration of the war, but Lapid refused to join.
This is the first time Lapid has called for Netanyahu to step down saying that the situation does not warrant early elections, rather the parties should opt for a national reconstruction with another prime minister from Netanyahu’s Likud party.
In a statement posted to Telegram, Likud immediately rebuffed the call, saying such a proposal in a “time of war” was “shameful”.
More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began bombarding the besieged enclave on October 7 after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 captive.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Wednesday calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” to allow for aid delivery and medical evacuations, “corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days” to safeguard civilians, particularly children, and asked for the unconditional release of captives held in Gaza.