Blinken tells Israel they cannot destroy Hamas, just demilitarize them

Israel cannot eradicate Hamas in Gaza, claims US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, pushing for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and ‘demilitarization’ of Hamas.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken advised Israel not to carry out its planned ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, suggesting that the IDF instead plan its exit strategy and attempt to ensure the demilitarization of Hamas.

Speaking with CBS News Sunday, Blinken panned the Israeli government’s plan to destroy the remaining four Hamas battalions reportedly active in Rafah, defending President Joe Biden’s warning that the U.S. could dramatically alter its support for the Israeli military if the Rafah operation proceeds.

“We have real concerns about the way [American weapons] are used,” said Blinken.

“What we’ve been clear about is that if Israel launches this major military operation to Rafah, then there’s certain systems that we’re not going to be supporting and supplying for that operation.”

The Secretary of State dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated goal of eradicating the Hamas terror organization as unachievable, suggesting that the group will remain in Gaza even after the war.

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Israel should instead focus its efforts on devising an exit strategy that would see the demilitarization of Hamas, Blinken added.

“As we look at – at Rafah, they may go in and have some initial success, but- but potentially at an incredibly high cost to civilians, but one that is not durable, one that’s not sustainable. And they will be left holding the bag on an enduring insurgency because a lot of armed Hamas will be left no matter what they do in Rafah.”

Blinken citing the resurgence of Hamas forces in areas vacated by the IDF following operations earlier in the war, including the southern city of Khan Younis, formerly the headquarters of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar.

“We’re seeing parts of Gaza that Israel has cleared of Hamas, where Hamas is coming back, including in the north, including in Khan Younis.”

In place of a ground operation in Rafah, Blinken called for Israel to develop “credible plans for security, for governance, for rebuilding,” tacitly accepting Hamas’ continued existence in Gaza.

“We want to make sure it’s demilitarized,” Blinken said.