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IDF comment appears to show rift with Netanyahu over goal to destroy Hamas

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The Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari commented during a broadcast interview with Israel’s Channel 13 on Wednesday, June 19. His statement appeared to show a rift between the army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his goal to destroy Hamas. Hagari said the idea “to make Hamas vanish” is like “throwing sand in the eyes of public.”

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“Hamas is an idea,” Hagari said. “Anyone who thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.”

Netanyahu’s office responded to Hagari’s remarks saying, “The Israeli cabinet had set the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing” as one of the goals of the war and that “the IDF is of course committed to this.”

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In a statement, the Israeli military replied that Hagari was addressing the elimination of Hamas as “an idea and ideology.” The IDF said it has acted “tirelessly” to achieve the war’s goals and will continue to do so.

Hamas, meanwhile, took Hagari’s comments as an “admission” of defeat.

In his interview, Hagari pointed to the need for Israeli leadership to come up with a plan after the war. He asserted that there is no path to weaken Hamas without an alternative.

Netanyahu’s lack of a post-war plan has been at the crux of several internal conflicts within Israel’s ranks.

On June 9, Netanyahu political rival Benny Gantz resigned from Israel’s war cabinet after issuing a deadline for the prime minister to create a post-war plan for Gaza — one Netanyahu did not meet.

In May, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant accused Netanyahu of “indecision” and leading Israel down a “dangerous course.”

Tension continues to build between Israel and its ally America. The Biden administration has denied allegations made by Netanyahu on a social media video that the U.S. is withholding military support.

The White House clarified a high-level meeting between the two countries on Iran scheduled for Thursday, June 20, was not canceled because of the video but for other reasons.   

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to questions on Netanyahu’s accusations during a press briefing on Tuesday, June 18, saying, “We genuinely do not know what he’s talking about.”

The Biden administration has acknowledged the pause of one shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel over concerns it would be used in an operation in the densely populated Gaza city of Rafah.  

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

MUCH HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED ABOUT THE GROWING RIFT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL IN TERMS OF PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S APPROACH TO THE WAR IN GAZA AMID THE HIGH NUMBER OF REPORTED CIVILIAN CASUALTIES.

NOW, THERE APPEARS TO BE DISSENSION BETWEEN THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES OVER NETANYAHU’S ULTIMATE GOAL OF DESTROYING HAMAS.

[VO]

IN A BROADCAST INTERVIEW WITH ISRAEL’S CHANNEL 13 IDF SPOKESMAN REAR ADMIRAL DANIEL HAGARI SAYS THE IDEA “TO MAKE HAMAS VANISH” IS LIKE “THROWING SAND IN THE EYES OF PUBLIC.”

HAGARI ADDING — “HAMAS IS AN IDEA. ANYONE WHO THINKS WE CAN ELIMINATE HAMAS IS WRONG.”

NETANYAHU’S OFFICE RESPONDING TO HAGARI’S REMARKS SAYING “THE ISRAELI CABINET HAD SET THE DESTRUCTION OF HAMAS’ MILITARY AND GOVERNING” AS ONE OF THE GOALS OF THE WAR AND THAT “THE IDF IS OF COURSE COMMITTED TO THIS.”

[ANCHOR]

IN A STATEMENT — THE ISRAELI MILITARY REPLYING THAT HAGARI WAS ADDRESSING THE ELIMINATION OF HAMAS AS “AN IDEA AND IDEOLOGY.” THE IDF SAYING IT HAS ACTED “TIRELESSLY” TO ACHIEVE THE WAR’S GOALS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.

HAMAS TAKING HAGARI’S COMMENTS AS AN “ADMISSION” OF DEFEAT.

[VO]

IN HIS INTERVIEW, HAGARI POINTED TO THE NEED FOR ISRAELI LEADERSHIP TO COME UP WITH A PLAN AFTER THE WAR  – SAYING THERE IS NO PATH TO WEAKEN HAMAS WITHOUT AN ALTERNATIVE.

NETANYAHU’S LACK OF A POST-WAR PLAN HAS BEEN AT THE CRUX OF SEVERAL INTERNAL CONFLICTS WITHIN ISRAEL RANKS.

LAST WEEK – NETANYAHU POLITICAL RIVAL BENNY GANTZ RESIGNED FROM ISRAEL’S WAR CABINET – AFTER ISSUING A DEADLINE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER TO CREATE A POST-WAR PLAN FOR GAZA – ONE NETANYAHU DID NOT MEET.

AND LAST MONTH – ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER YOAV GALLANT ACCUSED NETANYAHU OF “INDECISION” AND LEADING ISRAEL DOWN A “DANGEROUS COURSE.”

MEANWHILE TENSION CONTINUES TO BUILD BETWEEN ALLIES — AMERICA AND ISRAEL. THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DENYING ALLEGATIONS MADE BY NETANYAHU ON A SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO THAT THE US IS WITHHOLDING MILITARY SUPPORT.

THE WHITE HOUSE CLARIFYING A HIGH-LEVEL MEETING BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES ON IRAN SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY WAS NOT CANCELED BECAUSE OF THE VIDEO BUT FOR OTHER REASONS.

PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE RESPONDING TO NETANYAHU’S ACCUSATIONS — SAYING – QUOTE “WE GENUINELY DO NOT KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT.”

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THE PAUSE OF ONE SHIPMENT OF 2,000-POUND BOMBS TO ISRAEL OVER CONCERNS IT WOULD BE USED IN AN OPERATION IN THE DENSELY POPULATED GAZA CITY OF RAFAH.

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