Netanyahu rejects report citing top Israeli generals as wanting a ceasefire in Gaza with Hamas still in power

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of starting a ceasefire in Gaza while Hamas remains in power, after The New York Times published an article citing six current and former security officials who said a truce would give Israeli troops time to prepare for a potential land war with Hezbollah.

The officials, most of whom spoke anonymously to “discuss sensitive security matters,” also said a truce would be the most effective way to secure the release of the Israeli hostages.

Former Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata, who according to the Times maintains regular communication with “senior miliary officials,” spoke on the record, saying, “The military is in full support of a hostage deal and a ceasefire … They believe that they can always go back and engage Hamas militarily in the future.”

Faced with a “forever war” scenario, four of the officials interviewed by the Times agreed with Hulata that “keeping Hamas in power for now in exchange for getting the hostages back seems like the least worst option for Israel.”

But in a statement, Netanyahu said, “I do not know who these anonymous sources are, but I am here to make it unequivocally clear: This will not happen. The war will end once Israel achieves all of its objectives, including the destruction of Hamas and the release of all of our hostages.”

“The government directed the IDF to achieve these war objectives and the IDF has all the means to achieve them. We will not capitulate to the winds of defeatism, neither in The New York Times nor anywhere else. We are inspired by the spirit of victory.”

The report was published as the situation in Israel’s north remains extremely tense, with the Israeli military and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah ramping up cross-border attacks, which risk boiling over into a full-scale war.

“They (the IDF) understand that a pause in Gaza makes de-escalation more likely in Lebanon,” Hulata told the Times.

“And they have less munitions, less spare parts, less energy than they did before — so they also think a pause in Gaza gives us more time to prepare in case a bigger war does break out with Hezbollah,” he is quoted as saying.

When asked by the Times if it supported a truce, the IDF released a statement that didn’t answer the question directly.

“The IDF is determined to continue fighting to achieve the goals of the war to destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas, the return of the hostages and the safe return of the residents in the north and south to their homes.”

“So far, significant achievements have been made in fighting in Gaza, the IDF will continue to fight Hamas everywhere in the Gaza Strip, along with continuing to promote war readiness in the north and a defense effort at all borders,” it added.

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