Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed on Tuesday that the Security Cabinet had decided during the final phase of Operation Protective Edge not to try to topple the Hamas regime.
Right-wing critics of the government’s handling of the war had alleged as much, but it was the first time that a senior official said it was true in so many words.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies, Ya’alon defended the decision, explaining that “it would have been mistaken to give the army the directive of toppling Hamas, not even in retrospect.”
“The moment it evolves into Hamastan then it won’t be just Hamas. It will be an Iranian branch for the global jihad. Who can accept such a situation in Yehudah and Shomron [and Gaza]?” he asked rhetorically.
Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Shefer, who heads the IDF’s Planning Division and is a member of the Israeli delegation to ceasefire talks, revealed that “none of the sides wanted the conflict to extend 51 days. There was a dynamic of deterioration.
“Each side misread the other’s intention and there was miscommunication between the sides. We failed to understand Hamas as a system.”