JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The general responsible for Israel's border with the Gaza Strip says that continued rule by Hamas is necessary for its stability, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
The alternative would be the Israeli military and chaos in governance," top-selling Yediot Aharonot quoted Major General Sami Turgeman as telling heads of southern Israel local authorities in the Gaza border area on Monday.
The military spokesman's office told AFP that it had no transcript of Turgeman's remarks and therefore could not verify them.
The statement come in stark contrast to general rhetoric of current right wing Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has consistently gained support through vocal condemnation of the Hamas movement.
Israel launched a 50-day war on Hamas in Gaza last year, in which about 2,200 Palestinians were killed, the majority civilians, and 73 died on the Israeli side, most of which were soldiers in combat.
Rightwing politicians, including members of Netanyahu's cabinet, criticized an August 26 truce, saying that the military should have kept up its offensive until Hamas was removed from power.
Netanyahu is in the process of trying to get a center-right government confirmed by a restive parliament, and is hoping to entice hardline former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to reverse his decision to take his Yisrael Beitenu party into opposition.
Lieberman said his departure from Netanyahu's coalition was related to a dispute over 'principles. more