IDF ISrael gaza
© Amir Levy / Getty ImagesIsraeli soldiers near the border with Gaza on Tuesday.
The Israel Defense Forces' top spokesman said "Hamas is an idea" that can't be eliminated and that saying it could be was "throwing sand in the eye of the public."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may still be leading the country into its 258th day of war in Gaza, but on Thursday he stood increasingly alone — and at odds with his own military.

Long criticized at home as well as abroad, Netanyahu's approach is now the subject of a deepening disagreement with his top brass, as well as his country's top ally, the U.S.

Netanyahu dissolved his war Cabinet this week after former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a political rival, stepped down, accusing Netanyahu of standing in the way of "real victory."

Comment: Four politicians resigned recently, and, over recent months, various IDF officials have resigned.

And on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces' top spokesman seemed to lay bare the rift at the top of the country's leadership. The central stated goal of the war in Gaza — to destroy Hamas — was not possible, and to maintain it was meant "throwing sand in the eyes of the public," Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.

"Hamas is an idea. Anyone who thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong," Hagari said in an interview with Israeli broadcaster Channel 13. "The political echelon needs to find an alternative — or it will remain," he said, referring to Hamas.

Netanyahu's office quickly rebuffed the comments, saying in a statement that "the political and security cabinet headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu defined as one of the goals of the war the destruction of Hamas' military and governmental capabilities."

"The IDF is of course committed to this," it said.

The IDF signaled its agreement, saying it was acting to achieve Israel's war goals "tirelessly" and "will keep doing so." Hagari, it said in a statement, "addressed in his interview the elimination of Hamas as an idea and ideology, which was stated explicitly and clearly. Any other claim is taking the quote out of context."

Hamas welcomed Hagari's comments as an "admission" of defeat.

Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, said he was not convinced Hagari meant to directly disparage Israel's military strategy, but he said he could see how his comments would be taken that way.

"He was trying to say the truth," Michael, who is also a member of the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, said in a phone interview Thursday. But he said he believed Netanyahu understood that truth — and that Israel's goal was ultimately to prevent Hamas from being able to regroup and maintain power in Gaza.

Still, Hagari's comments reflected a growing push for Netanyahu to present an actionable plan for the day after the war in Gaza.

"If we don't bring something else to Gaza, then at the end of the day we will get Hamas," Michael warned.

The absence of a postwar plan for Gaza was at the heart of Gantz's reasoning for quitting Netanyahu's war Cabinet, and it has also driven criticism from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Comment: This idea of a post-war plan seems to be operating on the premise that there will be any Palestinians left in Gaza, whereas various officials have been clear that they intend to genocide all Palestinians that dare to remain.

Israeli forces pushed deeper into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, continuing a monthslong assault that local officials say has killed more than 37,000 people.

Comment: That estimate was valid months ago and it hasn't increased much since then, which has led various analysts to put the number of, mostly women and children, slaughtered by Israel, at over 100,000.

Netanyahu has faced global criticism over the war's toll on Palestinian civilians and domestic pressure to agree to a cease-fire deal that would secure the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza. In recent weeks he has also faced criticism for his approach to the exchanges taking place across Israel's northern border with Lebanon.

The IDF said Tuesday that plans for a new offensive in the north were approved, and the leader of Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, responded Wednesday by saying the "enemy must expect us to come for them from land, air and sea."

The U.S. sent an envoy to the region in a bid to prevent all-out war in Lebanon, but Netanyahu also sparked dismay in Washington when he accused it of "withholding weapons and ammunition."

Comment: It seems that Israel intends to escalate the fighting between Hezbollah because it considers that as one way to drag the US into the conflict, which might be why the US sent an envoy to try to deter them (for the time being, anyway).

Since Israel launched its campaign in Gaza following Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks, in which Israeli officials say 1,200 people were killed and around 250 others were taken hostage, military experts have warned that the goal of eliminating Hamas was folly.

Comment: Israel has also since admitted that not only did it know of Hamas' plan for an Oct 7 raid, but that the IDF was in fact responsible for 'many' of the deaths on that day.

The Biden administration has offered the same evaluation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last month that Israel would not be able to fully eliminate Hamas' presence in Gaza.

The United Nations has warned that thousands of children face possible malnutrition in the enclave, even as the IDF announced brief pauses in fighting to allow for the flow of humanitarian aid.

A U.S.-built floating pier installed along Gaza's coast to help facilitate the delivery of aid was re-anchored to the beach in Gaza on Wednesday, a senior defense official told NBC News.

Comment: The reapparance of the pier is ominous, because it delivered little to no aid before 'breaking', and was then used for the Israel-US massacre/hostage rescue mission (in which 4 hostages were rescued, 3 others were killed by the US-IDF, who also killed well over 200+ Gazans in the process).

The official said the U.S. military hopes to have humanitarian aid flowing again soon after it was temporarily taken out of service by damage and then high seas.