Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) cannot be eliminated because it is deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of Palestinians, noting that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been in a normal country, he would have resigned after the movement’s sudden attack on 7 October.
In an interview with Ynet News yesterday, Barak said: “At the present time he [Netanyahu] is leading the government, so it is very important that in addition to [Defence Minister Yoav] Gallant, that there also be [Former Defence Minister Benny] Gantz and [former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi] Eisenkot, at least to calm the soldiers on the ground.”
Regarding the goals of Israel’s war on Gaza, Barak said: “We cannot completely eliminate Hamas. Hamas is an ideological movement which exists in [Palestinian] people’s dreams, in their hearts and in their minds.”
“The practical step the war must achieve is to eliminate all of Hamas’ operational capabilities in the Gaza Strip, and this is a complex enough task, so it should be focused on.”
“We intend to eliminate the military capabilities of the Hamas movement, and we also hope that it will be possible to return the Palestinian Authority or any other entity there [Gaza], as there is no place for Hamas in the Gaza government either,” he added.
He also referred to the American request to resume water supplies to the Gaza Strip, saying: “I do not think Israel has a choice. America’s standing by us in such a far-reaching way is something that has never happened before, and it also comes at a price. This is one of them.”
Hamas: Israel ‘failed ‘miserably’ to make political or military achievement in Gaza
Regarding the possibility of opening another front in the north with the Lebanese Hezbollah group, Barak said Israel has no interest in opening a second front, adding that he does not recommend Hezbollah do so.
“It is possible that the Iranians will push Hezbollah to open a second front, and the exchange of fire that has occurred every day over the past two days could lead to deterioration,” he said, while noting that Israel’s policy of focusing on the Gaza Strip, and not on expanding the confrontations to the north with Lebanon, is a very correct consideration.
“You want to eliminate Hamas. Hamas is not in the north, but in Gaza.”
Barak described the Palestinian resistance’s infiltration of towns and military bases around the Gaza Strip as “the most dangerous incident that has occurred in the State of Israel since its founding.”
“There has been nothing like this, neither in terms of the size of losses in one day nor in terms of the horrific ways in which people were killed, most of them civilians,” he claimed.