Israeli military leader says war in Gaza will go on for ‘many more months’

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By Carina

Chief of the general staff for the Israeli military, Herzi Halevi, recently said that Israel expects the war in Gaza to persist for “many more months.” 

During a press conference, he conveyed an unwavering commitment to various operational approaches, emphasizing the absence of “magic solutions” in the fundamental dismantling of a terrorist organization.

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Progress in dismantling Hamas amid expanded offensive

Halevi’s statements follow his visit to the Gaza Strip, where he met with troops in the north, highlighting their proximity to completing the dismantling of Hamas’s battalions. 

Despite international calls for a more refined approach, Israeli soldiers have expanded the ground offensive into central Gaza’s refugee camps, asserting their use by Palestinian militants.

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International calls for more targeted operations

Top U.S. officials have engaged in discussions with Israeli counterparts, urging a transition to more targeted and “surgical operations.” 

This appears to be a diplomatic nudge to minimize civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict against Hamas, which has claimed more than 20,000 lives in Gaza.

Uncertain timeline and Biden administration’s push

While there is no established timeframe for Israel to wind down its military campaign, the Biden administration has advocated for efforts as early as January. 

Halevi, in his press conference, did not indicate a scaling back of operations but emphasized the Israeli military’s focus, precision, and professional approach in the ongoing actions.

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Halevi pledges intensified operations in Southern Gaza

Halevi outlined the military’s commitment to “preserve and intensify” operations in northern Gaza, with a specific focus on the southern Gaza Strip, notably Khan Yunis. 

This town became a refuge for nearly 2 million Palestinian refugees when airstrikes began in the north.

Israel criticized for targeting Hamas in civilian areas

Israel faces intense criticism for targeting Hamas in densely populated civilian areas, including hospitals and healthcare sites. 

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The Israeli military defends these actions, asserting that the locations are legitimate military targets due to their use by Hamas in preparing attacks.

Halevi’s pledge on hostage retrieval amid battlefield challenges

Halevi reiterated the country’s commitment to bringing home the remaining hostages taken by Hamas in the initial surprise attack on October 7, which resulted in 1,200 Israelis losing their lives.

Speaking from his experience as a combat commander, Halevi acknowledged the complexities of the battlefield. 

In these situations, he emphasized the need to make difficult decisions where those responsible bear the weight of successes and failures.

Israel’s determined military campaign faces global scrutiny

Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza reflects a determined resolve to address the threat posed by Hamas. 

The conflict has garnered international attention, with calls for a more targeted approach to minimize civilian casualties. 

The statements from Halevi underscore the commitment to strategic operations while navigating the challenging realities of the battlefield.

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