Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 14 October, 2023

‘Defeating Hamas is Possible’: Israeli Reservists Hit Back at Army Spokesman’s Pessimism

Public By Sveta Listratov • 9 July, 2024

Jerusalem, 9 July, 2024 (TPS) -- Israeli reservists hit back at the army’s chief spokesperson for suggesting during an interview that defeating Hamas might be an unattainable goal.

“It is possible and necessary to defeat a terrorist organization. We did it in the past, and we can do it now,” Colonel (res.) Hezi Nechama, a senior officer and former Brigade Commander told The Press Service of Israel. Nechama is not currently on reserve duty.

“It does not mean that at the end of the fighting, there won’t be armed terrorists left in Gaza, but there is a list of things we can ensure they no longer have, making them capable of acting against us efficiently. It won’t be a short operation, but it is completely possible and necessary to reach a state where Hamas is destroyed,” he explained.

Nechama and other reservists were responding to recent remarks by Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. In an interview with the US ABC News, on Monday, Hagari said, “Will you and me be talking five years from now about Hamas as a terror organization in Gaza? The answer is yes.”

This is not the first time Hagari has expressed such a view. In a June 19 interview, he told Israel’s Channel 13 News, “Destroying Hamas is a way to deceive the public,” and  went on to add, “Hamas is an idea and therefore cannot be eliminated.”

Those views did not go over well with reservists who spoke to TPS-IL on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.

“We are definitely able to destroy Hamas in the same way Nazism was eradicated. Of course, some form of Hamas may continue to exist, just as neo-Nazis still exist. However, they won’t have the infrastructure of a state to execute their plans,” said one reserve officer who has been fighting in Gaza since October.

“Our goal is to strip Hamas of its authoritarian power, destroy its officials, and ensure that events that took place on October 7th never happen again. It is given as an order to soldiers,“ he stressed.

Another reservist serving in a commando battalion told TPS-IL, “When the spokesperson suggests that defeating Hamas is impossible, it undermines the morale and effectiveness of our fighters. These statements give our enemies hope and weaken our stance, but it doesn’t reflect the battlefield. The soldiers and officers on the battlefield know what needs to be done and are determined to see it through.”

He added, “Our mission is clear. We are here to dismantle Hamas’s power and prevent any future threats. The spokesperson doesn’t represent our views on the ground. We know we can achieve this goal, and we will.”

Nechama highlighted a critical disconnect between the directives from higher command and the readiness of the soldiers to execute their missions.

“The soldiers on the ground are not confused. They want clear missions and believe they can be achieved. The issue is not with the field commanders but with the higher-up commanders. They don’t provide clear missions and lack faith in their success, which affects the outcome,” he insisted.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.