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Can Hamas Even Be Defeated? Israel Denies Internal Rift as Hezbollah War Looms Larger

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Some are saying there's a rift in Israel's government between political and military leaders, but both are denying it, claiming Israel will indeed finish Hamas in Gaza.

The controversy comes as the Netanyahu coalition prepares for a wider war in the north with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

In an interview with Israel's Channel 13 on Thursday, Israel Defense Forces Chief Spokesman Daniel Hagari appeared to question Israel's ability to wipe out Hamas.

"Hamas is an idea," Hagari said. "Whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong." 

Hagari suggested something must replace the Hamas way of thinking in Gaza or it will continue.

"This business of destroying Hamas – making Hamas disappear – it's simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public, if we don't bring something else to Gaza than, 'At the end of the day, we will get Hamas.'"

The IDF quickly put out a follow-up statement, saying Hagari was talking about how hard it is, "(to eradicate) Hamas as an ideology and an idea," and added that the military is behind Israel's goal of wiping out Hamas' ability to physically govern or fight. 

The Prime Minister's Office said the IDF is "of course, committed" to this goal. Speaking to Israeli security agents, Netanyahu cautioned that the less said about it, the better.

“We will not leave the Gaza Strip until we return all our hostages, both the living and the dead. We are doing this mission and also many other missions, and for now, it’s better to be silent about it," Netanyahu stated.

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As for the 116 Hamas-held hostages still in Gaza, U.S. officials studying intelligence believe as few as 50 of them may still be alive. That's less than Israeli officials have publicly estimated.

Biden Admin Slow-Walking Military Aid for Israel

Regarding the weapons Israel needs to keep fighting, two Republican senators claim the Biden administration actually is slow-walking transfers to Israel.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu charged the White House was withholding weapons Israel desperately needs. The White House denied it.  

However, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wrote in a letter to Biden, "Your administration is engaged in bureaucratic sleight-of-hand to withhold this crucial aid to Israel during a shooting war." Cotton added the White House is covering this up with "weasel words and bureaucratic process."

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) posted on X, “@WhiteHouse is mad bc @IsraeliPM @Netanyahu is telling the truth. Biden Admin has refused to send Congress **formal** notifications to finalize a host of arms sales to Israel—incl F-15s, JDAM smart bomb kits, munitions—even after SFRC & HFAC informally cleared these sales!”

As for the $200 million U.S.-built pier to help deliver aid to Gaza, it may be permanently removed next month. The pier was installed in mid-May but has only been used 10 days since then.

Plenty of Humanitarian Aid Is Reaching Gaza

When it comes to aid reaching Gaza, two Columbia University professors studying the issue contend that plenty of food aid has gone into the Gaza Strip, enough to feed every person there daily. 

The professors concluded, "It's a myth that Israel is responsible for famine in Gaza." 

They assert the United Nations and the International Criminal Court are using a "famine that never was, hoping to stop the war."

Daily Hezbollah Strikes Point to New War

Instead, an all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel seems to be fast approaching as the Jewish nation suffers from almost daily Hezbollah strikes on northern Israel and a displaced population of between 80,000 and 100,000 people.

With more than 150,000 missiles in Hezbollah's arsenal, U.S. officials worry Israel's Iron Dome could be overwhelmed, leaving the population more vulnerable to rocket attacks.

A top energy official, Shaul Goldstein, warned Thursday the nation's power grid is so exposed, that Hezbollah could easily wipe it out. But many other energy experts quickly disagreed, prompting Goldstein to walk back his assertion, calling his own remarks irresponsible.

Finally, The Washington Post reports Iran is producing nuclear fuel so quickly, that it could "accumulate several bombs' worth of nuclear fuel every month." It reports Iran has "300 pounds of highly enriched uranium that could be further refined into weapons-grade fuel for nuclear bombs within weeks, or perhaps days."

Iranian leaders have long threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Netanyahu has been at the forefront of the battle against Iran becoming a nuclear power for years.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and