In an Op-Ed titled “Let’s Not be Intimidated by the World,” Israeli ret. Major General Giora Eiland argues that all Palestinians in Gaza are legitimate targets and that even a “severe epidemic” in Gaza will “bring victory closer.”
Since October 7, there has been no shortage of genocidal calls from Israeli leaders, as well as clear plans, also at ministerial level, for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza. And while the usage of biblical euphemisms like Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Amalek” reference may appear too vague for some, even if the story suggests killing infants, on Sunday ret. Major General Giora Eiland, former head of the National Security Council and current advisor to the Defense Minister decided to spell out genocide more explicitly.
In a Hebrew article on the printed edition of the centrist Yedioth Ahronoth titled “Let’s not be intimidated by the world,” Eiland clarified that the whole Gazan civilian population was a legitimate target and that even “severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer.” His bottom line leaves no doubt as to his view:
“They are not only Hamas fighters with weapons, but also all the ‘civilian’ officials, including hospital administrators and school administrators, and also the entire Gaza population that enthusiastically supported Hamas and cheered on its atrocities on October 7th.”
Eiland speaks against humanitarian concern and the whole principle of distinction:
“Israel is not fighting a terrorist organization but against the State of Gaza.”
Therefore, per Eiland, “Israel must not provide the other side with any capability that prolongs its life.”
Eiland mocks the idea of “poor women” as the representation of uninvolved civilians:
“Who are the ‘poor’ women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters or wives of Hamas murderers”.
The formulation is reminiscent of the far-right former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who, during the 2014 onslaught, suggested that Israel’s enemy was the entire Palestinian people:
“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Eiland speaks against surrendering to American sensibilities. Humanitarian pressure (that is, cutting off all basic life necessities) is a legitimate means of war, he claims:
“The Israeli cabinet must take a harder line with the Americans, and at least have the ability to say the following: as long as all the hostages are not returned to Israel, do not talk to us about the humanitarian aspects”.
Also, the rest of the international community, with its humanitarian concern, must be resisted – even the spread of severe epidemics is a legitimate means of warfare:
“The international community warns us of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from this, as difficult as that may be. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer and reduce casualties among IDF soldiers”
But no, Eiland is not a sadist nor a genocidaire — all of this is but a means towards a supposedly good end:
“And no, this is not about cruelty for cruelty’s sake, since we don’t support the suffering of the other side as an end but as a means.”
Eiland’s outrageously genocidal piece was endorsed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who tweeted the full article and said he “agreed with every word.” Smotrich is known for, among other things, calling to “wipe out Huwwara” in the West Bank, so it should come as no surprise that he would now endorse Eiland’s call to do the same in Gaza.
A concentration camp
Eiland has a long history of being surprisingly forthright about his view on the state of the Gaza Strip. In 2004, then as head of the National Security Council, he regarded the Gaza Strip as “a huge concentration camp” as he advocated for the U.S. to force Palestinians into the Sinai desert as part of a “two-state solution.”
As per a U.S. diplomatic cable leaked to Wikileaks here:
Repeating a personal view that he had previously expressed to other USG visitors, NSC Director Eiland laid out for Ambassador Djerejian a different end-game solution than that which is commonly envisioned as the two-state solution. Eiland’s view, he said, was prefaced on the assumption that demographic and other considerations make the prospect for a two-state solution between the Jordan and the Mediterranean unviable. Currently, he said, there are 11 million people in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, and that number will increase to 36 million in 50 years. The area between Beer Sheva and the northern tip of Israel (including the West Bank and Gaza) has the highest population density in the world. Gaza alone, he said, is already “a huge concentration camp” with 1.3 million Palestinians. Moreover, the land is surrounded on three sides by deserts. Palestinians need more land and Israel can ill-afford to cede it. The solution, he argued, lies in the Sinai desert.
It is interesting to see Eiland recognizing such a reality even before the Gaza “disengagement” of 2005, before the election of Hamas in 2006, and before the genocidal siege of 2007, which has only been upped in its severity since October 7. At this point, regarding Gaza, as a concentration camp appears perhaps too weak a term — it has become an extermination camp.