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After Israel's expected Gaza invasion, David Petraeus says there needs to be a vision for what happens next

Petraeus on need for Israel-Hamas war vision
Petraeus: There needs to be a post-conflict vision in Israel-Hamas war 07:13

With Israel poised for a possible ground invasion of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in response to this month's brutal terror attack, retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, a former CIA director, said there needs to be a vision for the post-conflict phase.

Petraeus, a co-author of "Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine," said the post-conflict phase needs to be addressed as Israel moves forward on its "very challenging mission" to destroy the Hamas militant group.

"There needs to be a vision for that. I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu would be well advised to not only say what they're going to try to do to Hamas, but realistically … also talk about the future of Gaza and a future, even a vision for the Palestinian people post-conflict," Petraeus said.

"It's just really, really hard. I mean, they don't want to reoccupy, but if you don't reoccupy, Hamas will reconstitute, and they know that, and so you're going to go to enormous loss, casualties, the Israelis, civilians, of course, Hamas fighters, terrorists, and then you're just going to leave? So I am sure they are searching for that answer," Petraeus said.

Drawing a parallel to removing ISIS from Mosul, Iraq, in 2014, Petraeus said that Israel does not have the luxury of nine months for a similar operation.

"I was a two-star, I remember asking before we went to Baghdad, and I said, 'You know, excuse me, can we have a little more detail on what happens after we get to Baghdad and topple the regime?' And they said, 'You just get us to Baghdad; they will take it from there.' We obviously had done inadequate phase four it's called, post-conflict," Petraeus said.

When it comes to Israel trying to destroy Hamas, Petraeus said that requires rendering the enemy incapable of achieving its mission without reconstitution. However, he said it's essential for Israel to consider the high cost and the challenges posed by urban warfare.

"Think about what that requires. These are high-rises, not just small buildings," Petraeus said.

An Israeli ground offensive has been expected for several days after a week of retaliatory airstrikes in response to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed some 1,400 people. In Gaza, the Health Ministry said Monday that Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 2,750 people.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," President Biden was asked if he would support an Israeli occupation of Gaza.

"I think it'd be a big mistake," Mr. Biden told "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley. "Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don't represent all the Palestinian people."

Mr. Biden said that he agrees that Hamas needs to be eliminated.

"Yes, I do," Mr. Biden said. "But there needs to be a Palestinian Authority. There needs to be a path to a Palestinian state."

The president acknowledged a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is not possible at the moment.

"Not now. Not now. Not now, but— but I think Israel understands that a significant portion of Palestinian people do not share the views of Hamas and Hezbollah," he said.

Petraeus said it was important to carefully consider a vast amount of regional complexities, including Iranian proxy forces, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, proxy militias in Syria and Iraq, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, all potentially affecting the situation.

Petraeus said the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria could draw the U.S. into the conflict. While he expressed skepticism about direct Iranian involvement, Petraeus said it was important for the U.S. to consider what it could mean if Iran were to get involved.

"I'm sure that the U.S. has already taken the possibility of Iranian proxy forces in Israel; they're very keenly aware of these factors," Petraeus said.

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