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Israel Tells Hamas: You Can Keep Your Rockets


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his military will not stop until it dismantles a labyrinth of tunnels often burrowed under private homes and even beneath Gaza's mosques. But Netanyahu has not called for destroying the organization that built those tunnels: Hamas—and he won't, multiple Israeli officials told The Daily Beast. Which raises the question: Why are Israeli forces in Gaza—at the cost of more than 1,300 lives and a rising tide of global condemnation—in the first place?     

"You have to think through what comes next," a senior Israeli official said this month when asked why Israel was not pursuing regime change against Hamas. "You don't want to actually administer Gaza and you don't want someone worse taking over."

Another senior Israeli official said that Jerusalem's military did not even seek to take out the entire stockpile of Hamas rockets. Instead, he said, this latest round of fighting was aimed at creating deterrence and destroying the tunnels. More recently, Israeli officials have said they also seek to demilitarize Hamas.

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