Skip to main content

Netanyahu on collision course with Israeli military over next steps in Gaza

Over the past weekend, 11 Israeli soldiers died in Hamas booby traps, despite the sense among the country's top brass that the job in the Gaza Strip is done.
SOUTHERN ISRAEL, ISRAEL - JUNE 17: An Israeli tank moves along the border with the Gaza Strip as seen from a position on the Israeli side of the border on June 17, 2024 in Southern Israel, Israel. Israeli Army have agreed to a daily tactical pause in South Gaza to allow the passage of Humanitarian aid across the border. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — After dismantling the war cabinet on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to push for the continuation of the Gaza war, until "total victory," even if the military advises him to withdraw most of the forces from the Gaza Strip.

Hence, the next clash in Gaza will not be between Israeli troops and Hamas, but rather between the top military command and Netanyahu. Having already announced that it is in the process of dismantling two of the four Hamas brigades deployed in Rafah, the Israeli military expects to end the intense phase of its fighting there within two weeks. This will allow it to declare that it has cleansed the Gaza Strip of the Hamas military infrastructure and frameworks, which carried out the disastrous Oct. 7 assault in southern Israel.

The military is expected to follow this phase with a suggestion to the government that it replaces the ground deployment with targeted raids against residual Hamas pockets just as it operates in the West Bank against suspected assailants. This would entail carving out a "security perimeter" of 1-2 kilometers (0.6-1.2 miles) in width along the Gaza side of the border with Israel, and deploying troops there to guard against Hamas incursions. 

Israel’s top military commander, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, is expected to recommend that the next step be devoted to badly needed recuperation for the troops that have been engaged in combat for over eight months, to replenishing ammunition stockpiles and preparing to confront Hezbollah on Israel’s northern front.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.