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Israeli National Security Advisor Says Hamas Cannot Be Defeated

Haaretz reports that another Israeli official has admitted that Hamas cannot be defeated by military means alone. Tzachi Hanegbi, Netanyahu’s National Security Advisor, said June 24 while speaking at the 21st Herzliya Conference in Israel: “You cannot completely get Hamas to disappear, because it’s an idea, a concept. So you need a competing, alternative concept and not just destroy its military capabilities.”

Hanegbi went on to discuss his view of how Hamas could be defeated, namely by creating “a local leadership willing to live side-by-side with Israel and not to devote its life to killing Israelis.” Israel is still planning to destroy Hamas militarily, he claimed, but then proceed to establish such an “alternative structure.” “I expect that in the coming days we will see the concrete realization of this plan,” he continued. “We believe in it and believe it will put Hamas under great pressure.”

Whether or not these plans will work for any kind of peace for Israel or the region, Hanegbi is now the second high-ranking Israeli official to have made this point in the recent days, in effect poking holes in the current Netanyahu policy. On June 19, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people—whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong,” a statement which drew substantial blowback from Netanyahu’s office.