Top Israeli officials disagree on direction of war after more than 100 days of disputes: ‘We did not take down Hamas’

The Israeli leadership is increasingly divided over the best way to win the country’s devastating war against Hamas, less than a week into the conflict’s 100th day of battle.

During a television interview on Thursday, Gadi Eisenkot, senior Israeli war cabinet minister and former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said a ceasefire is the only path to ensure the safe release of the approximately 130 hostages. who remain in the clutches of the terrorist group.

“The hostages will only return alive if there is an agreement linked to a significant pause in the fighting,” Eisenkot said on “Uvda,” an investigative reporting program on Israel’s Channel 12, in his first public statements since the war broke out. in the region in October. .7 after Hamas’ brutal surprise attack on Israel.

Eisenkot, whose 25-year-old son died fighting Hamas in Gaza in December, made his comments just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls from the White House to ease the country’s harsh military campaign that has devastated much of the region.

The war is believed to have claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis and up to 25,000 Palestinians, according to Israeli officials and health authorities linked to Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced growing calls to scale back his country’s war against Hamas. OPEN SULTAN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“We will not settle for anything less than an absolute victory,” Netanyahu defiantly declared during a nationally televised news conference on Thursday.

Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have insisted that the country’s war effort will continue until the Islamist militant group suffers a crushing defeat and that the only way to free the remaining hostages is through military power.

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During the same speech, Netanyahu flatly rejected new calls from the United States to consider establishing a Palestinian state, arguing that such an agreement would provide new territory from which future attacks on Israel could be launched.

Netanyahu has argued that the only way to free the approximately 130 hostages still held in Gaza is through military power, which Gadi Eisenkot, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, dismissed that statement as “spreading wishful thinking.” ABIR SULTAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Gadi Eisenkot, senior minister of the Israeli war cabinet and former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said that a ceasefire is the only way to guarantee the safe release of the 130 hostages remaining held by Hamas. fake images

Israel “must have security control over all territory west of the Jordan River,” the prime minister said, adding: “That clashes with the idea of ​​sovereignty. What can we do?

“I tell this truth to our American friends and stop the attempt to force us to accept a reality that would endanger the State of Israel,” he said.

In apparent direct contradiction to Netanyahu, Eisenkot said any claim that the release of the hostages can be achieved without a ceasefire is “spreading wishful thinking.”

He also offered a harsh criticism of how the war has unfolded, saying that strategic plans to ensure victory should have been a higher priority from the beginning.

A man in Gaza mourns the death of a loved one in an airstrike in Rafah. fake images

He even questioned whether Israel’s efforts to defeat the terrorist group have been as successful as others, including Netanyahu, have claimed, saying, “we have not yet reached a strategic achievement, or rather only partially,” he said. “We did not take down Hamas.”

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Israel began its extensive military campaign against Hamas after the terrorist group launched a large-scale surprise missile attack on the country on October 7 that killed approximately 1,200 Israelis.

Hamas also took around 240 hostages in the attack, including women and children, of whom 105 were freed during a multi-day ceasefire agreement last November.

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