Israel Insists on Goal of ‘Dismantling Hamas’s Governmental and Military Capabilities’

Israeli military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, display to the media one of the Ir
Tsafrir Abayov / Associated Press

Israel reiterated Thursday that its goals for the war in Gaza include the “dismantling of Hamas’s governmental and military capabilities,” after a controversy over a military spokesman’s comments.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Wednesday that it would be impossible to destroy Hamas ideologically, and that pretending otherwise would be fooling the public.

The Times of Israel reported:

IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari on Wednesday cast Israel’s war aim of eradicating the Hamas terror group as unattainable, appearing to underscore tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top defense officials over his handling of the war in Gaza.

“This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear — it’s simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” Hagari told Channel 13 news in an interview.

“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,” he continued.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office responded with a statement: “The Security Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has defined the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities as one of the goals of the war.”

The IDF reacted by issuing a clarification, stating that Hagari had been talking about “eradicating Hamas as an ideology and an idea,” not as a military force, and that any other interpretation meant taking him “out of context.”

But Hamas seized on Hagari’s comments to claim that Israel was losing the war and had accepted the inevitability of defeat.

Israeli government spokesman David Mencer, responding to a question from Breitbart News, said that the controversy would not affect the war effort, and was simply part of life in a robust democracy.

He reiterated that Israel’s goals were dismantling Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the removal of the terrorist threat, and the return of all of the hostages.

The controversy came as the U.S. pressures Israel to give up the war short of victory.

It is also possible that the Israeli military — whose senior officers are thought to oppose Netanyahu politically — may have been trying to influence the country’s civilian leadership.

Asked whether that was a possibility, Mencer said that perceptions of a conflict were a result of a misunderstanding, and that Israel’s goal had never been to kill every member of Hamas.

He noted that Hamas had become desperate in Gaza, and were forcing children to fight — as the Nazis did in the closing stages of the Second World War.

Mencer observed that the Nazis had been destroyed as a military and a governing power without killing every Nazi.

“We’re winning in Gaza. We’re taking this organization apart. We won’t stop until it is done. The idea that Hamas will stay in power is a non-started.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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