'Hamas cannot be destroyed, it's an idea,' says IDF spokesman

Daniel Hagari tells Israeli news channel there is no destroying Hamas completely, and that the political echelon needs to stop misleading the public; PM's office: 'Destroying Hamas - One of the goals of the war'

“Hamas cannot be destroyed. Hamas is an idea,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Wednesday in an interview with Israel's Channel 13. "Those who think it can be made to disappear are wrong. It's the Muslim Brotherhood."
Sending a pointed message to the political leadership, Hagari advised: "What we can do is foster something new to replace Hamas. Something that will make the population aware that someone else is distributing food and managing public services. Who will that be? What will it be? That’s for the political leadership to decide. But to truly weaken Hamas, this is the way."
When asked by journalist Almog Boker if the Palestinian Authority could be an alternative to Hamas and take over Gaza, Hagari responded: "I don't discuss alternatives; that's for the political echelon to decide, and the IDF will implement. But the notion that Hamas can be destroyed, that it can be eradicated, is simply misleading the public. If we don't bring something else to Gaza, we will end up with Hamas again."
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חיסול המחבלים שניסו לחצות לשטח מדינת ישראל ממרחב רפיח
חיסול המחבלים שניסו לחצות לשטח מדינת ישראל ממרחב רפיח
Daniel Hagari, destroying Hamas 'impossible'
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Prime Minister Netanyahu's office was quick to respond. "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, of course, is committed to this," the PMO said in a staement.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit also issued a statement following the interview, which asserts that the IDF is "committed to achieving the war's objectives as laid out by the Cabinet, it has been working day and night throughout the war and will continue to do so. The commanders of the IDF and its servicemen and women are fighting with determination and persistence to destroy the military capabilities and the governmental and organizational infrastructure of Hamas in Gaza, a clear military objective."
The statement said that Hagari in the interview "dicussed the destruction of Hamas as an ideology and an idea, and he said that clearly. Any claim otherwise is taking his words out of context."
Hagari emphasized in the interview that Israel is on the verge of defeating Hamas' Rafah Brigade. "The Rafah Brigade, which was part of the October 7 attack, is close to a military defeat – and we will defeat this brigade," he said.
"After we achieve this, we will explain to the public the significance of our victory against Hamas. We will first communicate this to the political leadership and then to the public. This also involves sharpening our readiness and preparations to consider all possible alternatives for decision-making, to think ahead about what we want to achieve both in Gaza and in the north," he said.
Hagari also discussed "Operation Arnon," which rescued four hostages—Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov, Almog Meir Jan, and Noa Argamani. "Not all hostages can be rescued in operations," he admitted, adding: "We are engaged in continuous operational intelligence thinking around the clock. Shin Bet, IDF, National Intelligence Directorate, and special units generate many ideas, and many things happen that the public does not know about because we decided not to execute them."
"What guides us in this matter is one thing – we will do everything to bring people home alive," Hagari clarified. "It should be said, even in Operation Arnon there were risks, and it's never100% – but we are determined to try. It won't be possible to bring back all the hostages through military operations, and that's something the public needs to be told."
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming U.S. withholds military aid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming U.S. withholds military aid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Screenshot)
This isn’t the first time Hagari has voiced criticism against grandiose statements from the political leadership, including those from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last month, in a special interview, he addressed statements made before the operation in Rafah. "I want to tell the public, not to delude them – even after we deal with Rafah, there will still be terrorism." He made these remarks in light of Netanyahu's comments made in April, in which he claimed that Israel was "on the verge of a complete victory."
In response to a question from Ynet earlier this month, Hagari addressed criticism regarding the duration of the campaign. "It takes time to deal with Hamas – anyone who says otherwise is presenting an illusion to the public. Rafah is one of the most complex areas in the Middle East, if not in the entire world. There were 1.4 million residents there – the IDF evacuated more than a million civilians. This is an unprecedented event in the world."
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