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War on Gaza: Hamas will survive offensive, Israeli military, intelligence warn senior politicians

A document circulating from Israel's military leaders to government officials predicts Hamas to survive as 'terror' and 'guerrilla' group
This handout picture released by the Israeli army on 16 February shows Israeli troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip amid a ground assault (AFP/Israeli Army)

Even if Hamas is dismantled as a military force, the movement will survive as "a terror group and a guerrilla group", a document circulated from Israel's military leaders to government officials has warned, according to an Israeli Channel 12 report. 

The document was put together by the Israeli army's research division and states that "authentic support remains" for Hamas among Gazans, the channel reported.

The document also warned that "Gaza will become an area in deep crisis", given the lack of plan for the "day after" war. 

The document was reportedly presented on Monday to leading politicians in Israel following a week of senior military and intelligence talks about the findings, Channel 12 said. 

Ilana Dayan, an investigative journalist at the broadcaster, said that the "bottom line" of the document was that the Hamas movement would inevitably survive Israel's offensive. 

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The report directly contradicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated goal of eradicating all aspects of the group, which many countries have warned against as an unrealistic feet. 

In November, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Israel would be unable to eliminate the group and its ideology. 

"What we have learned through our own experiences, that through military and other means you can absolutely have a significant impact on a terrorist group's ability to resource itself, to train fighters, to recruit fighters, to plan to execute attacks," Kirby said during a press conference.

"It doesn’t mean that the ideology withers away and dies," he said, a stance he repeated in January.

More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed and 68,395 have been wounded in Israel's onslaught. 

The report comes as Israel prepares a ground offensive on Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah, where over half of Gaza's 2.3 million population has sought refuge.  

Netanyahu has said it is only a matter of time before Israel launches a ground invasion of the city.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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