IDF spokesman says Hamas can’t be destroyed, drawing retort from PM: ‘That’s war’s goal’

Hagari calls Hamas ‘an idea rooted in the hearts of the people,’ also says it will stay in Gaza unless alternative found; PM reiterates war aims, amid divisions with defense brass

Jun 20, 2024

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.

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.

“The Israel Defense Forces is of course committed to this,” the statement added.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit subsequently issued a statement saying the military was committed to the government’s stated war goals, including destroying Hamas’s governing and military abilities, adding that Hagari had talked in the interview about “eradicating Hamas as an ideology and an idea.”

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“Any claim otherwise is taking the remarks out of context,” the IDF added.

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