Former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday that destroying Hamas as a political and military force in Gaza “could take years,” Axios reported.
A senior Israeli official said that Gantz made the remarks during a War Cabinet meeting with Biden, who made a brief visit to the Jewish state on Wednesday to show support following the Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis by Hamas terrorists.
Gantz and former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government from the opposition and became members of the War Cabinet after the Hamas attack.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said at the War Cabinet meeting with Biden that “it will be a long and difficult war, and Israel will need U.S. support for a long period,” an aide to Gallant told Axios.
Netanyahu discussed a massive military aid package with Biden during his visit, with Israeli officials putting the number at $10 billion. The two leaders agreed to push forward with “a huge and unprecedented military aid package” for Israel.
Biden said before departing Israel that he would request from Congress to approve “the transfer of unprecedented aid to Israel.”
The U.S. president will deliver a nationally televised address on Israel and Ukraine from the Oval Office on Thursday evening.
At the War Cabinet meeting, Biden reportedly brought up the escalating tension in northern Israel, speaking of his concern that Hezbollah joining the war could cause a wider regional conflict.
Biden has warned Hezbollah and other Iranian terror proxies of taking advantage of the war between Israel and Hamas, telling them: “Don’t.”
The United States has increased its military posture in the region to deter Hezbollah and Iran, including positioning two aircraft carrier strike groups in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Israel.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on the flight back to Washington from Israel on Wednesday that “it’s a sufficient, credible military force,” adding that if Biden “decides that that force needs to be used to defend our interests, we’ll do that.”