National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi reaffirms the cabinet’s war goal is remove Hamas from military and political control over the Gaza Strip, but declines to elaborate on planned next steps for the coastal enclave.
When asked about Israeli plans for alternative control, or return to occupation, of the Gaza Strip, Hanegbi tells The Times of Israel that: “We can’t report through you to the enemy on what is coming, we can tell Hamas that it is prohibited for it to be the sovereign in Gaza.”
Hanegbi says that in a recent cabinet meeting, the government approved a plan to “destroy” Hamas, as stated by the prime minister and defense minister.
“Hamas will not be the ruler, the sovereign in Gaza after the combat,” he says.
Asked about the government’s responsibility for failing to thwart Hamas and to protect Israel’s citizens, he says, “I greatly identify with what the chief of staff said. We did not fulfill our mission. Nobody can dispute that the State of Israel did not fulfill its mission.” He further acknowledges that it had been an error to assess that Hamas was deterred after 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.