IDF: Netanyahu’s Goal of Eliminating Hamas Is Unachievable

By Kyle Anzalone –

The spokesman for the Israeli military explained that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of eradicating Hamas is not achievable. The statement comes amid a growing rift between the Israeli leader and the military.

In remarks to Israel’s Channel 13 News on Wednesday, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the military spokesperson, explained that the PM’s stated objective in Gaza is an insult to the Israeli people. “This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear – it’s simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” he said. “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people – whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.”

The statement from Hagari reflects assessments from US intelligence and military officials that destroying Hamas is not something that can be accomplished. The US intelligence community’s threat assessment released in March said that Israel would likely be fighting Hamas for years to come.

Netanyahu’s office responded to Hagari’s remarks by saying the prime minister’s ends in Gaza remain unchanged. Netanyahu “has defined the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities as one of the goals of the war. The Israeli military, of course, is committed to this,” the statement said.

It is not the only time Netanyahu has clashed with members of his military in recent days. On Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced a limited pause to operations in a select area of Rafah during daylight hours to allow more aid to reach the Palestinians. Netanyahu quickly denounced the move as “unacceptable.”

Other divides have emerged within the Israeli government. Last week, former IDF general Benny Gantz withdrew from the war cabinet over Netanyahu’s refusal to work out a hostage release agreement. Gantz’s exit led Netanyahu to dissolve the war cabinet entirely.

Another source of friction is a potential law that would remove the Israeli orthodox community’s exemption from mandatory military service. The controversial measure is becoming an issue for Netanyahu, who demanded his political partners “get a grip” and abandon “petty politics.”

“We are at war on several fronts, and we face great challenges and difficult decisions,” he added. “We must all focus solely on the tasks before us: defeating Hamas, returning all our hostages and returning our residents safely to their homes, both in the north and in the south.”

Israel is waging a tit-for-tat war with Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as its operations in Gaza and the West Bank, which are expected to last at least five more weeks. US officials are concerned that Tel Aviv will start a wider war with Hezbollah that will grow to include Washington. Some analysts believe that Netanyahu sees Tel Aviv remaining in a state of war as the key to his political survival, as he faces intense public scrutiny over the ongoing war, the failure to prevent Hamas’ surprise attack last year, and multiple corruption scandals, among other controversies.

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