According to some senior Israeli military commanders, Israel's goals of freeing Israeli hostages from the Gaza Strip and simultaneously destroying Hamas are incompatible. This was reported by the New York Times, which spoke to four anonymous top commanders.
Disappointing progress in the fight against Hamas has led commanders to believe the hostages should be freed through diplomatic channels. At this point in the war, the Israeli military has control over a smaller portion of the Gaza Strip than originally thought, based on battle plans from the start of the war seen by the New York Times newspaper. Also, under pressure from allies like the US, Israel is quickly ending the war.
Earlier this week, Israeli war cabinet member Gadi Eisenkot said it was an “illusion” to believe the hostages could be freed without a ceasefire. According to Eisenkot, a 'total victory' over Hamas is unlikely. In doing so, he exposed the rift within the Israeli government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others have repeatedly said that the war can only be ended if Hamas is completely eliminated.
Protests continued today at Netanyahu's home. The protesters, including the families of the hostages, are demanding that the Prime Minister take more steps to free the hostages. Israeli planes distributed leaflets today in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. It calls on Palestinians to help find hostages held by Hamas.
In response to the New York Times revelations, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would wage “the war against Hamas with unprecedented results and in a very decisive manner.” The Israeli military declined to comment.
Read more Former Israel Correspondent Monique Van Hoogstraten's Analysis of Netanyahu's Plan to Destroy Hamas
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