Also says Hamas retains 'authentic support' in Gaza

Report: IDF intel assesses that Hamas will ‘survive as terror group’ post-war

Document drawn up by Military Intelligence reportedly states that even if Israel dismantles Hamas’s organized military capabilities, it will continue to operate in Gaza

Children stand alongside Hamas terrorists in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2023. (AFP)
Children stand alongside Hamas terrorists in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 29, 2023. (AFP)

Israel’s military intelligence circulated a document to Israeli leaders this week warning that even if the IDF succeeds in dismantling Hamas as an organized military force in Gaza, it will survive as “a terror group and a guerrilla group,” according to a Channel 12 report aired Thursday evening.

The document, drawn up by the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, reportedly also states that “authentic support remains” for Hamas among Gazans.

Given that there is currently no practical effort being made to put in place a plan for Gaza on the “day after” the war, the document further warns, “Gaza will become an area in deep crisis.”

Channel 12 investigative journalist Ilana Dayan reported that the document was presented on Monday to Israel’s political echelon, after it was discussed last weekend by senior IDF officers, Shin Bet officials and members of the National Security Council.

The “bottom line” is that the document constitutes a warning from those in military intelligence who carry out such assessments, said Dayan, that “Hamas will survive this [IDF] campaign as a terror group and a guerrilla group.”

“In this regard, at least,” she suggested, “there won’t be absolute victory” — as predicted and demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the start of the war.

IDF troops operate in the Gaza Strip, in a handout image published February 15, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF Spokesman’s Office declined to comment on the TV report.

While Israeli officials have consistently publicly declared the goal of the war to be wiping out Hamas from the Strip, many countries and officials around the world have warned that it is not a feasible outcome.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in November that while Israel can dramatically reduce the threat from Hamas, eliminating the group and its ideology is likely impossible.

“What we have learned through our own experiences, that through military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on terrorist groups ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan to execute attacks,” Kirby told reporters.

“It doesn’t mean that the ideology withers away and die,” he said, a sentiment he repeated again last month.

A poll released in December and conducted during the weeklong truce in late November showed that 57% of respondents in Gaza believed Hamas’s October 7 onslaught was justified, and 42% of those in the Strip support the terror group overall.

From the start of the war, IDF chief Herzi Halevi has generally spoken of “dismantling” rather than eliminating or eradicating Hamas, a term implicitly acknowledging that even a protracted war will not be able to destroy every military and terror threat from the Strip.

The assessment that Hamas will withstand Israel’s war aimed at its destruction is shared by Arab stakeholders in the region who met last week to advance a joint plan for Gaza’s reconstruction after the fighting ends.

Saudi Arabia, which hosted the meeting, invited Qatar to participate in a nod to Doha’s influence over Hamas whose political leaders it hosts.

The Arab countries that participated in last week’s meeting don’t want Hamas to be included in the political leadership of Gaza after the war, but they do believe that the terror group will manage to survive in some form and that a level of its acquiescence will be needed in order to successfully advance the rehabilitation of Gaza, a senior diplomat told The Times of Israel.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: