Israeli Government's Mass Deportation, Destruction and Genocide in the Name of "Self-Defence"

"If this turns into a direct conflict rather than based on special operations, Gaza's borders may de facto change," a serving Israeli colonel told Middle East Eye on condition of anonymity. He said that the military had devised plans to encircle areas in the north while air strikes pummeled the rest of the enclave. The Israeli colonel said the army had divided the enclave into several sectors and "determined which points and settlements in the Strip will be surrounded." He added that "special operations will be carried out in at least 25 points in sub-sectors." He said that if Israel were to proceed with a ground invasion, Israeli soldiers could remain in the Strip for a lengthy, but yet undetermined, period of time.

Middle East Eye reports the colonel also saying that if Hamas were to capitulate and not put up fierce resistance with other Palestinian groups, the army would still stay there for an undetermined period of time. Middle East Eye also reports that Israeli diplomat Danny Ayalon told an Al Jazeera reporter that there is "endless space" for Gaza's civilians in Egypt's Sinai Desert and that they should all be moved there.

David Hearst, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye writes, for the Palestinian Information Centre, that Netanyahu "wants to eradicate Hezbollah and Hamas, which he once described to me (when he was in opposition) as aircraft carriers for Iran. ... The head of the Israeli opposition, Benny Gantz, has also hinted at a bigger project: 'We will win, and change the security and strategic reality in the region.'"

Hearst writes:

"Reoccupying Gaza and finishing off just one Palestinian armed group would not change the strategic reality of the region, and you don't need an army of 360,000 troops to reoccupy Gaza. This is the greatest number of reserves called up in the history of the country. ... But what if a bigger venture is being planned, what would it entail, and what risks would it pose for the region as a whole? ... On Tuesday, Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht told foreign reporters that he would advise Palestinian refugees to 'get out' through the Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border with Egypt ... Egypt might be forced to allow an influx of refugees from Gaza which happened after both the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 and the 1967 war ... Why would it put this statement out if the possibility of another mass exodus were not being discussed behind closed doors? ... Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described Palestinians as 'human animals' ... Knesset member Revital Gotliv called on Israel to consider using a nuclear bomb on Gaza ... Giora Eiland, a former general, said Israel must 'create an unprecedented humanitarian disaster' in Gaza, and threatened another Nakba: 'Only the mobilization of tens of thousands and the cry of the international community will create the leverage for Gaza to be either without Hamas or without people. We are in an existential war.'"

Hearst continues:

"On Friday [October 13], little doubt remained of Israel's intentions. The Israeli Army told Palestinians of north Gaza to leave, saying they would not be allowed to return 'until we say so.' ... if Israel is not stopped, the course on which it is embarked is to kill not 2,251 men, women and children in Gaza as was the case in the ground incursion of 2014 but tens of thousands, a casualty rate high enough to induce another Nakba. ... Israel is now saying this war is existential. On the streets, Israel feels like a country where there is no authority; where Israelis can take justice into their own hands; where normal citizens, unconnected with settlers or the extreme right, are going around on the streets armed. Such is the general level of hatred and fear, that it could be only a matter of time before Palestinians inside Israel are attacked. ... If a ground offensive gets going, which could be very soon, the choice for Hezbollah may be either to wait for Israel to finish off Hamas and then come for them knowing they would effectively be on their own -- or join Hamas and the other armed factions in Gaza, while each group retains its effectiveness as a fighting force. Hezbollah might have very good reasons for wanting to keep the status quo on the Lebanese border, but this is no longer a conflict that any group facing Israel, or any part of the Palestinian movement, can afford to sit out without handing Israel a free pass. ... On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the crimes against the Palestinians would receive a response from 'the rest of the resistance axis.'"

Hearst concludes: "A Gaza campaign that develops into a plan that could change the Middle East could backfire dangerously -- and it should be stopped before it is too late."

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 13 - October 2023

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