ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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US official: If war ended today, Hamas would still pose threat, so we’re not calling for ceasefire

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer speaks during a joint statement with Colombia's President-elect Gustavo Petro, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, July 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)
US Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer speaks during a joint statement with Colombia's President-elect Gustavo Petro, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, July 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)

US Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer is asked during an on-stage interview at the Aspen Security Conference what the Biden administration thinks of Israel’s military objectives for its war in Gaza.

“They have said that Hamas can no longer govern, can no longer be in charge of Gaza. We think that is a very legitimate objective, given what has happened on October 7 and since,” Finer says.

Israel’s second main objective is that Hamas will no longer be allowed to pose the type of threat that it posed to Israel on October 7.

“Frankly, if the war were stopped today, it would continue to pose [such a threat], which is why we’re not in place yet of asking Israel to stop or for a ceasefire,” Finer says.

“Those two objectives are legitimate. We think they’re working in that direction, but they have not achieved them yet,” he says.

Finer is then pressed on a third objective that Netanyahu has taken to stressing — that Gaza be demilitarized and de-radicalized.

“The details will matter here,” the senior Biden aide begins.

“Hamas would certainly need to not have the military capability it was able to demonstrate on October 7 when more than 1,200 Israeli civilians were brutally massacred.”

“That is not something that any government would allow to continue on its borders, so the extent of demilitarization would mean that that is no longer possible, that is a very legitimate objective,” Finer says.

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