IDF Spokesperson Says Complete Hamas Destruction Is Unrealistic, Contradicting Netanyahu

A top spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) dealt a blow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, publicly declaring that the complete destruction of Hamas is not attainable.

Spokesman Daniel Hagari made the comments during a Wednesday night appearance on Israeli television. The statement directly conflicts with the position Netanyahu has maintained for months, that the military campaign in Gaza must continue until Hamas is completely dismantled.

“The idea that we can destroy Hamas or make Hamas disappear is misleading to the public,” Hagari said in his interview. “What we can do is grow something different, something to replace it. The politicians will decide.”

Netanyahu’s office produced a swift rebuttal Wednesday evening, insisting that ending Hamas remains the IDF’s goal.

“The security cabinet headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu defined the destruction of Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities as one of the goals of the war. The IDF is of course committed to this,” his office said.

Netanyahu has faced mounting opposition both in Israel and internationally in recent weeks. His top political rival, Benny Gantz, resigned in protest from Netanyahu’s three-member war council last week. Gantz protested how the prime minister was conducting the war in Gaza. Netanyahu ultimately chose to dissolve the council entirely this week.

President Biden’s administration has also been ramping up its criticism of Netanyahu. The U.S. had withheld some military aid that was intended for Israel.

Netanyahu then publicly attacked the Biden administration, releasing a video address in English on Tuesday calling the withholding of aid “inconceivable.” Relations between the two administrations have only gotten rockier

The Biden administration is urging Netanyahu to accept a cease-fire agreement that Biden put forward earlier this month. However, Hamas has rejected certain terms of the agreement.