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Hamas is Far from Falling Apart in Southern Gaza: Former Israeli Premier

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak stated that the Hamas movement is far from falling apart in the southern Gaza Strip and retains its capabilities in the north.

In an article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday, Barak wrote, “About two months into the war, Israel is nearing a decisive junction. Israeli forces have made considerable gains in the northern Gaza Strip, but Hamas is far from falling apart in Gaza’s south and maintains capabilities in the north as well.”

He added, “If we wish to survive in our tough environment, completing the mission of dismantling Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities is critical, even in the face of external pressure. But months and perhaps more will be required to achieve this.”

However, Barak warned that international legitimacy “is running out fast and the tensions building up behind closed doors, including with the United States, could boil over.”

“It is the responsibility of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to synchronize these clocks and obtain the necessary time, but he has failed in this task, and so we are at a decisive junction,” he further stressed
Barak pointed out that “Netanyahu is ignoring the fact that a relationship of trust with the White House is crucial for Israel to achieve its goals.”

He said, “Netanyahu’s failure in leading the war lies in his denial of the understanding that, in this case, victory cannot be achieved without a clear position on the “day after” and a plan to implement that vision.”

Barak continued, “Having such a position enables identification of the critical elements involved and how to work with them today so they will be there when the time comes for the “day after.”

“Anyone who knows Netanyahu and observes him today must surely have serious doubts about his fitness to lead such a complex campaign,” he concluded.

Regarding the “day after,” Barak revealed that “the US envisions an Arab peace-keeping force, from the countries of the moderate axis listed above, that, following the fall of Hamas and after security measures have been put in place, would take the reins from Israel for a limited period in which a “Palestinian Authority 2.0 (a revitalized authority) would be brought in. The Arab force would help the PA consolidate control of the Gaza Strip.”

He explained that “Joe Biden sees this as the first step on the way to a two-state solution and therefore will be willing to back Israel militarily and economically, with an airlift and with a diplomatic umbrella at the United Nations Security Council and The Hague.”

However, he noted that “Netanyahu is tied to an unholy alliance with Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, pyromaniacs prone to lighting fires in the West Bank, who for their part protect him from the demand for his immediate ouster. But mainly, they take advantage of him to impose their ideology that Gaza should return to full Israeli control and responsibility.”

Barak said, “If that were to happen, Israel would likely bog down in the Gazan quagmire and lead to conflict lasting years, a crisis with the American administrations, and tangible risk to Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan, to the Abraham Accords and normalization with Saudi Arabia.”

He considered that “these considerations may lie on the distant horizon, but the “day after” requires that already in the immediate term, we must coordinate and build relations of trust, behind the scenes as well, with the US and our neighbors.”

He concluded that “such relations cannot exist with the present government in power, because, as is the case among the majority of the Israeli public, in Washington and regional capitals, nobody believes a word Netanyahu says – certainly not promises given behind closed doors about Israel’s future positions when our neighbors are expected to take painful steps, and immediately suppress public protest in their streets.”

“The requisite conclusion is that the Netanyahu government is causing grave harm to Israel’s strategic standing and leading a war that has no endpoint. This is causing enormous damage. Netanyahu’s premiership must be terminated before the consequences of his flaws become irreversible,” he also said.

Barak continued, “What is needed in current circumstances is a broad national unity government without Netanyahu and without Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.”

“Only a government acting responsibly and decisively, free of extraneous and distorted considerations, will be able to steer Israel to the end of the war and victory,” he added.

Source : aa