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Top Israeli Official Claims Hamas Cannot Be Eliminated

His remarks undermine Netanyahu's stated war aim, raising questions about Israel's military onslaught in Gaza

Top Israeli Official Claims Hamas Cannot Be Eliminated

A top Israeli official is publicly stating that the goal of destroying Hamas is impossible.

During an interview on June 19, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari openly stated, “This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear — it’s simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public.”

His remarks were reported by The Times of Israel, which further quoted him as saying, “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people — anyone who thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.”

Hagari added, “If the government doesn’t find an alternative — [Hamas] will remain” in the Gaza Strip.

Following its rejection of a another ceasefire deal that would have resulted in the return of all remaining hostages held since the Oct. 7 attack, last week the Israeli government reiterated its commitment to eradicating Hamas, stating: “Israel will not end the war before achieving all its war objectives: destroying Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, freeing all the hostages and ensuring Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel in the future.”

Hagari’s candid remarks severely undermine the Israeli war effort in Gaza, which, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health (MoH), has claimed the lives of more than 37,000 Palestinians, with thousands more presumed dead under the rubble.

While many have asserted that the death toll provided by the MoH cannot be trusted because it is run by Hamas, historically, it has been accurate. The discrepancies between MoH figures and independent United Nations analyses have been about 1.5 to 3.8 percent. The MoH mortality figures for the 2014 war varied just 8 percent from Israeli numbers. A report from January shows that the Israeli Military considers the MoH mortality numbers "totally reliable.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to continue the war and achieve complete, total, and absolute victory.

However, if it is known within his administration that Hamas cannot be eliminated, serious questions remain about Israel’s continued bombing campaign and military onslaught in Gaza.

Hagari is hardly the only figure in Netanyahu’s circle who has openly questioned the feasibility of his government’s declared war objectives.

Israeli war cabinet minister Gadi Eisenkot said earlier this year that the goal of crushing Hamas is unrealistic and called for elections to oust Netanyahu, who Eisenkot argues has lost the trust of the public.

“Those who say that there was a major blow and demolition of the capabilities in the north of the strip are telling the truth,” Eisenkot told Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 News, addressing Netanyahu’s vow of total victory. “Those who talk about an absolute defeat and lack of will and ability do not tell the truth. This is why there is no need to tell tall tales.”

He added, “A strategic achievement was not reached. … We did not demolish the Hamas organization.”

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