French President Emmanuel Macron warned Saturday that Israel’s aim of eliminating the Palestinian terror group Hamas risked unleashing a decade of war.

Achieving the “total destruction of Hamas” would mean “the war will last 10 years,” Macron said at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

“So this objective must be clarified,” he added.


Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that after the destruction of Hamas, Israel would relinquish control of the Gaza Strip and that a new security regime shall be set up for Israel.[108][109]


Israel made its goal to completely destroy Hamas, but how does Israel define the complete destruction of Hamas? Did Israel offer any definition of what that would mean? Does it mean killing all of its leaders, destroying all of the military infrastructure, or something else?

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    I am not sure how Israel defines the "destruction of Hamas" but some practical criteria to judge the achievement of that objective would be the release of all surviving hostages and the complete cessation of rocket attacks on Israel. Until that day, Israel cannot even start to consider they are achieving their objectives.
    – KDP
    Dec 5, 2023 at 8:29
  • Is it too cynical to say that President Netanyahu wants to totally destroy Hamas enough that the intelligence failures that allowed the October 7th attack can be forgotten and that he can get re-elected? i.e. The bombs will stop when he believes his political future is secure?
    – user121330
    Dec 5, 2023 at 9:59
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    @user121330 While I'm no fan of Netanyahu, I don't believe it's particularly fair or reasonable to blame him for Shin Bet's failure to prevent that attack, unless of course evidence can be provided that he was somehow responsible for preventing their intelligence gathering apparatus from functioning correctly. And while the attack and its aftermath have definitely shifted focus away from Bibi's trial, at best all those have gained him is some time; there's little indication that will materially affect the outcome of said trial.
    – Ian Kemp
    Dec 5, 2023 at 12:22
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    @IanKemp While a trial certainly has bearing on the electability of an official, if the trial goes well, that official would still need to get the votes. Broadly, chief executives bear responsibility for their organizations' failures both in fact and in public opinion. It is not enough to not actively hamper - as the leader, one must lead, properly resource their team, and provide their team the latitude to succeed.
    – user121330
    Dec 5, 2023 at 16:51
  • I couldn't help but remember a quote from Dino DeLaurentis' Dune. "This is genocide, the deliberate and systematic destruction of all life on Arrakis!" But I'm sure that's not what they're saying....
    – JBH
    Dec 5, 2023 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu defined the operation of destroying Hamas as follows:

  • Freeing the hostages,
  • Removing Hamas from power in Gaza,
  • Ensuring that no similar threat will ever be posed again from Gaza.

Other government officials issued similar, though not identical, statements.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has concluded his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. [...] Netanyahu says he told Blinken: [...] “I told him we have sworn, and I have sworn, to destroy Hamas. Nothing will stop us,” he says, reiterating that the war in Gaza will continue until Israel frees all its hostages, vanquishes Hamas and guarantees that no similar threat will ever be posed again from Gaza.

Netanyahu ends meeting with Blinken, says Israel has 'sworn to destroy Hamas' | The Times of Israel

“Israel intends to eliminate Hamas just as the world dealt with the Nazis and ISIS,” [Israeli Foreign Minister] Cohen says.

FM Eli Cohen slams 'despicable' UN resolution urging ceasefire | The Times of Israel

Haim Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the European Union and NATO, [...] downplayed Israel’s intentions toward Hamas when speaking with Foreign Policy, describing them simply as “destroying their capabilities,” rather than occupying Gaza.

Can Israel Destroy Hamas in Gaza?

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said Israel's operation in Gaza would have three phases.

First, he said Israel would carry out "a military campaign that currently includes strikes, and will later include maneuvering, with the objective of neutralizing terrorists and destroying Hamas infrastructure." The second phase, he said, would focus on "eliminating pockets of resistance" in Gaza.

"The third phase," Gallant said, "will require the removal of Israel's responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel."

Israel plans to "destroy Hamas." If that happens, who will lead the Palestinians in Gaza? - CBS News

  • Can you offer any clarification on who are considered Hamas terrorists? Hamas has a charitable arm, a political arm and a militant wing. Is there any clarity whether Israel considers them all equal game or it is only going to target the militant arm and some specific members?
    – sfxedit
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:47
  • @sfxedit From the many media reports describing the multitude of greatly diverse Hamas activities, the following Hamas members would be considered terrorists by Israelis (or by any reasonable person, for that matter). Any Hamas members involved in carrying out targeted killing and burning of children, rape and mutilation of women, killing the elderly, taking civilians hostage, targeting with rocket and artillery fire any civilian targets. I have not seen credible reports that unarmed Hamas civilian charity employees (considered protected civilians) would be targeted as terrorists by Israelis. Dec 21, 2023 at 22:03
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    I would like to believe that. But note the stated goal - Removing Hamas from power. How can they do that without going after the political arm? If they are let go, then don't they risk Hamas coming back to power, with a different name but the same people and ideology?
    – sfxedit
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:45
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    @sfxedit Israeli leaders compared removing Hamas from power in Gaza to removing Hitler's regime from power in Germany after WWII. I assume that some changes will happen to the non-terrorist members of Hamas. But these changes would be along the lines of what the allies did to the rank and file German Nazis after WWII, provided such Nazis had not been directly linked to any crimes. That is, they would not be lined up and executed, but rather not allowed to rule Gaza. Some may have already sensed their fate and might be now heading out to seek asylum in Hamas-friendly countries (there are many). Dec 21, 2023 at 22:53
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    Thanks for clarifying. That makes sense, and perhaps you should include that in the answer, because point 1 and 3, is clear but 2 isn't.
    – sfxedit
    Dec 21, 2023 at 23:23

Funny that you should ask this question a few hours after senior adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev was interviewed by Piers Morgan.

Here's the video: https://youtu.be/dmv4_w3ywn4?t=562

To quote the exact wording:

Piers Morgan: What is victory going to look like here? I mean if there are still Hamas terrorists alive the end of this is that victory or do they simply buy their time, regroup and come back at Israel even stronger because so many people would have been killed by them in Gaza?

Mark Regev: So when, victory is the destruction of Hamas's military machine and the end of their political control over the Gaza Strip. A bit like victory over Isis in Iraq and Syria: You didn't have to kill every last Isis gunman, but you destroyed their territorial independence. You destroyed their ability to control an enclave, because that gives them power. We can't destroy the Hamas idea just as you can't destroy the Isis idea, but you can remove from them the capability to inflict pain on others.

And we believe that once we have destroyed Hamas's terror regime in Gaza there will be room to build something uh better for the Palestinians. They can build it themselves, we'll support them uh, but let's be clear here when this is over Hamas's path of extremism, of radicalism, of violence, of terror will be discredited - not because it hurt us, but because it hurt the people of Gaza.

I mean the people of Gaza are not stupid. They can see who started this war, who brought all this destruction upon them, who even ended the ceasefire by refusing to release more hostages. The people of Gaza know this. They can't speak their minds today, because they live in a terrible dictatorial state. Hamas does not allow people to criticize them and not face consequences, violent consequences. But when this is over and the people of Gaza can speak they will say that Hamas brought this tragedy upon them. And there'll be room - I think - to work with Palestinian moderates to build a better future for Gaza. It's good for Israel, it's good for Gazans.


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