Israeli generals, low on munitions, want a cease-fire in Gaza

Israeli generals, low on munitions, want a cease-fire in Gaza

The New York Times reports:

Israel’s top generals want to begin a cease-fire in Gaza even if it keeps Hamas in power for the time being, widening a rift between the military and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has opposed a truce that would allow Hamas to survive the war.

The generals think that a truce would be the best way of freeing the roughly 120 Israelis still held, both dead and alive, in Gaza, according to interviews with six current and former security officials.

Underequipped for further fighting after Israel’s longest war in decades, the generals also think their forces need time to recuperate in case a land war breaks out against Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has been locked in a low-level fight with Israel since October, multiple officials said.

A truce with Hamas could also make it easier to reach a deal with Hezbollah, according to the officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters. Hezbollah has said it will continue to strike northern Israel until Israel stops fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Known collectively as the General Staff Forum, Israel’s military leadership is formed from roughly 30 senior generals, including the military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the commanders of the army, air force and navy, and the head of military intelligence.

The military’s attitude to a cease-fire reflects a major shift in its thinking over the past months as it became more clear that Mr. Netanyahu was refusing to articulate or commit to a postwar plan. That decision has essentially created a power vacuum in the enclave that has forced the military to go back and fight in parts of Gaza it had already cleared of Hamas fighters.

“The military is in full support of a hostage deal and a cease-fire,” said Eyal Hulata, who served as Israel’s national security adviser until early last year, and who speaks regularly with senior military officials. [Continue reading…]

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