Israeli military spokesman's comments on Hamas defeat widen gap with Netanyahu | Israel-Palestine Conflict News

Daniel Hagari goes against Netanyahu by saying that identifying the impossible task of defeating Hamas as Israel's ultimate goal in Gaza means “throwing sand in people's eyes.”

Al Jazeera reports from outside Israel because it has been banned by the Israeli government.

Israel's military spokesman has exposed a widening rift between the country's political and military leaders, questioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated goal of destroying Hamas in the Gaza Strip to end the war.

After nine months of war in which more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the name of eliminating the armed group that rules the besieged enclave, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told Israel's Channel 13 on Wednesday that the task was simply impossible and ” wrong.”

“This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear, is just throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” he said. “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. He is rooted in the hearts of the people; “Whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.”

Al Jazeera's Hamdah Salhut, reporting from Amman, Jordan, said Netanyahu's office was “furious” about Hagari's comments.

“This just gives you an idea of ​​what Benjamin Netanyahu's policies are in this war, and how the military on the ground says it's actually not realistic,” he added.

Netanyahu's office responded by saying that the security cabinet, chaired by the prime minister, “has defined the destruction of Hamas's military and governance capabilities as one of the objectives of the war. The Israeli military, of course, is committed to this.”

The military quickly issued a clarification, saying they were “committed to achieving the war objectives defined by the cabinet” and that they have been working on this “throughout the war, day and night, and will continue to do so.”

Hagari's comments, it said, “referred to the destruction of Hamas as an ideology and an idea, and this was said by him very clearly and explicitly,” the military statement added. “Any other statement is taking things out of context.”

Israeli political analyst Akiva Eldar said Hagari has undermined Netanyahu's “doctrine” that Hamas can be defeated “once and for all.”

“Right now, it seems that, for the first time in many years, there is an ongoing escalation between the Netanyahu-led government and his entourage of journalists, analysts who are actually on his team (unofficially) and who are smearing the boss. . of the staff,” Eldar told Al Jazeera.

“It's kind of a doomsday scenario that the army spokesman, who reports to the chief of staff, is simply undermining Netanyahu's doctrine, which is: we have to end Hamas rule once and for all in Gaza,” he said. The act of give. saying.

“What Hagari is saying is challenging Netanyahu and saying, actually… you're hallucinating.”

Previous signs of discontent

There have already been open signs of discontent over the handling of the war by Netanyahu's government, a coalition that includes right-wing hardliners who oppose any kind of deal with Hamas.

Months of internationally mediated ceasefire talks, including a proposal put forward this month by US President Joe Biden, have stalled.

Benny Gantz, a former military chief and centrist politician, withdrew from Netanyahu's war cabinet earlier this month, citing frustration with the prime minister's conduct of the war.

And Netanyahu this week expressed displeasure with the military's decision to declare a “tactical pause” in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to help deliver humanitarian aid.

An aide said Netanyahu was caught off guard by the announcement, and Israeli television stations quoted him as saying: “We have a country with an army, not an army with a country.”

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