‘Challenging’ – Israeli Commander Says Eliminating Hamas is Not Easy Task

Palestinian Resistance fighters target an Israeli tank. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The commander of the 12th Brigade also dismissed hopes of the war subsiding within the next year, cautioning against unrealistic expectations among Israelis.

Lieutenant Colonel Ivri Elbaz, commander of the Israeli 12th Brigade, said on Saturday that dismantling Hamas’ military capabilities in the southern Gaza city of Rafah will require at least two more years, Al-Jazeera reported.

Elbaz reportedly emphasized the complexity of the mission to eliminate the Hamas military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, describing it as challenging and requiring sustained military pressure over time. 

He noted that Hamas conducts guerrilla warfare in Rafah through decentralized groups, which adds to the difficulty of addressing the threat.

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The commander of the 12th Brigade also dismissed hopes of the conflict subsiding within the next year, cautioning against unrealistic expectations among Israelis.

Since May 6, the Israeli military has been conducting ground operations in Rafah, seizing control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt the following day. 

This closure has restricted the passage of wounded individuals seeking medical treatment and humanitarian aid into Gaza.

On May 29, the Israeli army announced full control over the Philadelphi Corridor, effectively cutting off direct access between Gaza and Egypt.

Despite ongoing efforts, Israeli Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter recently acknowledged that completely neutralizing Hamas’ control over Gaza remains a distant objective.

‘Dust in the Eye’

Elbaz is not the first Israeli military official to express this same concept. 

On June 19, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 that “whoever thinks it is possible to destroy Hamas is mistaken”.

“Saying that it is possible to destroy Hamas and to make it disappear is to throw dust into the public’s eyes,” Hagari added.

Hagari’s statement was a complete departure from every single announcement that the military spokesperson himself had made about Israel’s war objectives in Gaza. In his daily press statements, Hagari has described for months what seemed the systematic destruction of Hamas’ military capabilities throughout the Gaza Strip. 

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Hagari’s recent words also contradicted the latest assertion by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where he, once more, insisted on a “total victory” in Gaza.

The contradictions can easily be attributed to the growing conflict between the Israeli army and the political establishment of Netanyahu and his far-right ministers in Tel Aviv. 

Ongoing Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,834 Palestinians have been killed, and 86,858 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.


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