Israeli Generals Want Truce in Gaza, Putting Them at Odds With Netanyahu

One reason why they want a ceasefire is to prepare for war in Lebanon

Israel’s top generals want a ceasefire in Gaza even if it keeps Hamas in power, putting them at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The report, which cited current and former security officials, said one reason Israel’s top brass favored a pause in Gaza was so that the Israeli military could recuperate to prepare for a full-blown war against Hezbollah in Lebanon

They also believe a ceasefire in Gaza could reduce tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border and make it easier to reach a deal with Lebanon, although Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has previously said a pause in Gaza would be an escalation in Lebanon.

The Israeli military also believes a deal with Hamas is the best way to safely free the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza. “The military is in full support of a hostage deal and a ceasefire,” former Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata told the Times.

Responding to the report, Netanyahu vowed military operations in Gaza would continue until Hamas was eliminated, a goal the Israeli military has publicly said is not possible.

“I do not know who these anonymous sources are, but I am here to make it unequivocally clear: This will not happen,” Netanyahu said. “The war will end once Israel achieves all of its objectives, including the destruction of Hamas and the release of all of our hostages.”

Four senior Israeli officials who spoke with the Times agreed that a hostage deal that keeps Hamas in power for now is the least worst option for Israel at the moment. Hulata also made clear that the Israeli military’s thinking is for a temporary ceasefire, not the permanent truce that Hamas has been seeking.

“They believe that they can always go back and engage Hamas militarily in the future,” Hulata said.

Axios previously reported that Israeli officials thought the ceasefire deal unveiled by President Biden back in May was vague enough that Israel and Hamas could enter a temporary ceasefire and conduct a prisoner swap without Israel actually committing to a permanent truce.

But Netanyahu repeatedly rejected the idea of a permanent ceasefire, leading Hamas to ask for stronger guarantees and sabotaging the chances of an agreement.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.