The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Fighting Amalek in Gaza

What Israelis Say and Western Media Ignore

Norman Finkelstein, Nov 12, 2023
Written and compiled by Yaniv Cogan and Jamie Stern-Weiner

Israel’s allies have claimed that it “is not deliberately trying to kill civilians” (US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby) and is “taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians” (UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak).

Such claims are hard to square with the massive devastation Israel has inflicted. As of 10 November, over 11,000 people in Gaza were reported killed, including more than 4,500 children, and at least 45 percent of housing units were reported damaged or destroyed.

They are hard to square with the findings of leading human rights organisations that Israel has inflicted “collective punishment” (Human Rights Watch) as part of a “criminal policy of revenge” (B’Tselem), employed “[s]tarvation … as a weapon of war” (Oxfam), and carried out “unlawful … attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties” (Amnesty International).

They are hard to square with Israel’s previous assaults on Gaza, which were calibrated to “punish, humiliate, and terrorise” the civilian population by deploying an “insane amount of firepower” that caused “destruction on a whole other level”. In its “previous wars on Gaza”, Amnesty International recalled, “Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity”.

Finally, claims that Israel is striving to protect civilians in Gaza are most hard to square with how Israeli officials have presented the current onslaught:

  • “We are imposing a complete siege on the city of Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly” (Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 9 October)
  • “This is not about surgical strikes and military infrastructure anymore … This means we will obliterate civilian infrastructure as well. Apartment buildings will be toppled” (IDF officer, 9 October

To serve as a reference, we have compiled the following list of revealing statements by Israeli officials, former officials, and politicians about the ongoing massacre in Gaza. Translations from Hebrew have been verified. Quotes are presented in date order, starting with the most recent. The list will be updated periodically.

[Last update: 12 November 2023]


Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 12 November: “We need to put them [the Palestinians] on boats and send them to wherever will be good for them. They’re wanted in Scotland? We’ll hand them over”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, 12 November: “Occupation [of the Gaza Strip] is a must. Every time our enemies lost territory, they lost the war. We need to be in full control—that’s what will deter our enemies, convey a message of victor and allow the residents [of Israeli towns near Gaza] to return home. I’m not afraid of renewing the settlements in Gush Katif [inside the Gaza Strip]”

Minister for Agriculture and former Head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter, 11 November: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. From an operational point of view, there is no way to wage a war—as the IDF seeks to do in Gaza—with masses between the tanks and the soldiers … Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end”1

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 11 November: “I am saying here to the citizens of Lebanon, I already see the citizens in Gaza walking with white flags along the coast and moving south … If it [Hezbollah] makes mistakes of this kind, the ones who will pay the price are first of all the citizens of Lebanon. What we are doing in Gaza we know how to do in Beirut”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 10 November: “We will hold Gaza after the war too, we will not trust international forces”2

Education Minister Yoav Kisch, 8 November: “We can certainly bring back the settlements of Gush Katif [evacuated in 2005], there is no status quo and nothing is sacred” 

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 7 November: “[Hamas leader] Yahya Sinwar made a mistake and sealed the fate of Hamas and the fate of Gaza”

Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, 5 November: “there are no uninvolved [civilians] in Gaza”.

Reporter: “Should we drop an atomic bomb on Gaza?”

Eliyahu: “That’s one way”3

Former New Hope MK and former Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Zvi Hauser, 5 November: “Some of us also contemplate the historical-philosophical necessity for revenge for the bloodbath we suffered because of the enemy on that cursed Shabbat. For those who hold that view, I say that the territorial acquisition, even if its sole purpose is, as mentioned, to secure security and prevent violence, is the most appropriate response in the language of the Middle East to those who raped our women and murdered crushed skulls of our infants near our border. Neither killing the innocent nor extensive property damage will deter them. Our neighbours and enemies must know that an attack on Israel means a loss of their territory”

Yitzhak Kroizer MK (Otzma Yehudit, governing), 5 November: “the Gaza Strip should be flattened, and there should be one sentence for everyone there—death. We have to wipe the Gaza Strip off the map. There are no innocents there”

Col. Erez Eshel, Officer in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) 162nd Armour Division, 4 November:

Reporter: “I want to say one word to you, and you tell me what pops into your head. Revenge”.

Eshel: “Great value. There is a value to revenge over what was done to us. That for another hundred years [everyone] will understand that Jews are not to be messed with … This place will be fallow, they will not be able to live here”4

Deputy Head of the Civil Administration Yogev Bar Sheshet, 4 November

Reporter: There are no civilians now in Al-Atatra neighbourhood [Beit Lahiya].

Sheshet: “Whoever harms Jews, whoever harms Israelis, we will destroy his houses. We will kill him wherever he lives. It does not pay off to harm the people of Israel, this is our message. Nothing left. Whoever returns here, if he returns here later, will see here scorched earth. No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future … They [Hamas—because they caused the Israeli military to do it] annihilated this place for many years to come” [from approx. 4 mins in

Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon MK (Likud, governing), November: “I support the taking of land. Why? Because in [sic] the essence of the Middle East, that’s the language they understand. Any terrorists we will kill—they will replace them with others. Economy and houses we will destroy—it is obvious they will be compensated. But land that will be taken away from them—that’s something irreplaceable”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, letter to IDF soldiers, 3 November: “The basis of the existence of the thousand-year-old nation of Israel is the constant struggle for our lives and freedom … The current fight against the ‘Hamas’ murderers is another chapter in the story … ‘Remember what Amalek did to you’ … This is a war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness”5

Former head of the Knesset National Security Commission and Mossad Deputy Director Ram Ben Barak MK (Yesh Atid, opposition), 2 November: “The intention is to build a coalition of countries and international funding that will allow those Gazans who want to leave to be absorbed into these countries with citizenship and a proper absorption basket”

Amit Halevi MK (Likud, governing), 1 November: “it is totally unacceptable that the war on [sic] Gaza will end with any Palestinian rule [there]. The main form of defeat understood by radical Islam is loss of control over land, and this must be the result [of the war]. Therefore, the first step the Knesset must pursue is to undo the law which forbids the entry of Jews into Gaza”6

Former head of the Knesset National Security Commission and Mossad Deputy Director Ram Ben Barak MK (Yesh Atid, opposition), 1 November: “Look, a Hamas official said a few days ago that they won’t provide for the population [of Gaza], the population are all refugees and the UN should provide for them, right? There was such a statement from someone in Hamas? Well, if everyone in Gaza is a refugee, let’s scatter them around the world. Let’s scatter them around the world. There are 2.5 million people there, every country will take in 20,000 people, 100 countries. It’s humane, it’s an obvious [solution]. They are refugees anyway, it is better to be a refugee in Canada than a refugee in Gaza. If the world really wants to solve this problem, it can solve it”7

Off-duty Major General (Head of the IDF ground troops command) and current Head of the Israel Electric Company Yiftah Ron-Tal, 1 November: “Everyone understands and recognises the clear overarching goal of destroying Hamas. This manoeuvre will eventually lead the forces to take complete control of Gaza, especially Lower Gaza [i.e., the tunnels]. As far as I’m concerned, the Strip can become a plowed area and maybe in the future we will finally rebuild the settlements in Gush Katif, this is the overarching goal”

Galit Distel-Atbaryan MK (Likud, governing), 1 November: “Hate the enemy. Hate the monsters. […] Spend your energy on one thing; wiping Gaza off the face of the earth. Let the Gazan monsters fly to the southern fence and flee into Egyptian territory. Or have them die. And have them die horribly. Gaza must be wiped out. And fire and billows of smoke must be upon the heads of the Nazis in Judea and Samaria. Jewish wrath that will cause the ground to shake around the world. We require a revengeful and cruel IDF. Anything less than that is immoral. Simply immoral”

Minister of Heritage Amichai Eliyahu, 1 November: “The north of the strip—more beautiful than ever. Blowing up and flattening everything, simply a delight for the eyes. (A soldier in Gaza). We must speak about the day after. In my mind’s eye, we give away real estate to anyone who fought for Gaza over the years, and those who were evacuated from Gush Katif—god willing. (Without Merkhavim Muganim Dirati’im) [without the threat of rockets]”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 30 October: “Hizbullah will only be deterred if it sees not only destruction in Gaza City, but a humanitarian disaster and absolute governmental chaos … Our principal challenge is to persuade our friends that only that outcome—the complete destruction of all system in Gaza and desperate distress—will also serve them in their effort to cope with Iran and its proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen”8

Former Deputy Commander IDF Gaza Division Amir Avivi, 29 October: “We are not taking any chances … When our soldiers are manoeuvring we are doing this with massive artillery, with 50 aeroplanes overhead destroying anything that moves”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 28 October: “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember, and we are fighting”9

Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 28 October: “The Gaza siege plan”: “impose a total siege on the north of the Gaza Strip, dry up and suffocate the Hamas terrorists in the tunnels until they are forced to come out”; “create a new security strip 2 km deep into the territory of the Strip along our entire border, a permanent Strip … Imagine bulldozers simply levelling the area”; “Countries around the world can take in the refugees—only temporarily, of course—until Hamas surrenders and the war ends. Between 6 months and 5 years”; “In the south of the Gaza Strip … we allow (but do not give ourselves): water, food, medicine … We aren’t allowing any drop of fuel to enter the entire Strip. Without fuel there are no tunnels because there is no ventilation and no lighting … Any country in the world that expresses pain over the situation of the refugees in the south is invited to temporarily host refugees (Scotland, Egypt, Turkey, etc.) … Avoid collateral damage as much as possible as it may lead to [the international community forcing us to] halt the operation before Hamas has been eradicated. …. This plan has been reviewed by experts in international law, and is consistent with all the standards of international law”10

Former advisor to Netanyahu on matters related to national security and former Acting Head of the National Security Council Ya’acov Nagal, 27 October: “Everyone forgets that there were actually two surprises at Pearl Harbour, one in which the Americans were surprised and thousands of soldiers were killed, and the other, which is forgotten, in which the Japanese were surprised by the might of the American response. After two years of watching from the sidelines, the Americans entered with all their strength into involvement in the World War, which began [sic] with a crushing and decisive victory over the Japanese—using doomsday weapons. Israel’s responsibility and obligation, after the Hamas surprise, is to fundamentally change the rules of the game, to surprise with the strength of the overall response, and of course to humiliate and defeat Hamas definitively”

Former Likud MK and former Knesset Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin, 27 October (?): “Do not leave a stone upon a stone in Gaza. Gaza needs to turn into Dresden … Complete incineration. No more hope … Annihilate Gaza now! Now!”11

Former Israeli Ambassador to Italy and Israel Hayom columnist Dror Eydar, 26 October: “For us, there is one purpose: to destroy Gaza, to destroy this absolute evil”

Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, 26 October (?): “There is one and only one solution, which is to completely destroy Gaza before invading it. And when I talk about destruction, I mean destruction like it was in Dresden and Hiroshima, without a nuclear weapon”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 25 October: “We can’t, simply can’t, give in with anything related to the entry of fuel into Gaza. Yes, the Palestinians will present [to the world] babies who died in incubators as a result of a power outage due to the lack of fuel, but still, a necessary condition for creating distress for Hamas is a lack of fuel in the entire Strip. As we have already said—[it’s] an existential war, and we are facing a situation of either us or them”

Revital “Tally” Gotlieb MK (Likud, governing), 23 October: “Without hunger and thirst among the Gazan population, we will not succeed in recruiting intelligence, [or] … in bribing people with food, drink, medicine, in order to obtain intelligence”

Former National Security Advisor and former Head of the National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat, 20 October: “The destruction caused in Mosul was similar in its magnitude to what the Allies inflicted on Dresden in February 1945. At the end of the battle in Mosul, the UN estimated that over 80% of the city, the second-largest in Iraq, was uninhabitable. A similar experience occurred in Raqqa, Syria, another stronghold of ISIS that was targeted by the U.S. military, which also ended with the label ‘unsuitable for human habitation’. This is the real corollary that should come with the statement that ‘Hamas is ISIS’ …  In this war, Israel has no choice. It must act as the Allies did in their war against the Nazis. It’s time to dispel the myth that ‘the Gaza population is a victim of Hamas, which imposed itself on them’. True, not everyone there supports Hamas. There are many who do not share its ways, but the level of support for it undermines the claim that ‘Hamas does not represent the Palestinians’ … It is important to emphasise that there is no dilemma when choosing between adhering to international law and minimising the risks to our forces … [Israel] must respond with overwhelming force”

Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, headed by former Netanyahu National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat, 17 October: “There is a need for an immediate, viable plan for the resettlement and economic rehabilitation of the entire Arab population in the Gaza Strip”12

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Arieh King, 17 October: “If the Prime Minister … cared, or his ministers from the State of Israel cared, there would have been 150,000 dead already in the Gaza Strip and not a single building in the Gaza Strip would have been left standing”

Herzi Halevi, IDF Chief of Staff, 17 October: “If Hezbollah makes a mistake and attacks—annihilation, annihilation, annihilation. We did not abandon our values, we operate based on values, but we match them to the cruelty and insanity that the enemy has introduced into this battle”

Former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 17 October: “The State of Israel needs to clarify to the international community that the only humanitarian solution, assuming one is needed, is outside the borders of Gaza. A refuge city can be established in Sinai and provide aid to the people of Gaza”

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee member Boaz Bismuth MK (Likud, governing), 16 October: “We must not forget that the cruel and monstrous ‘innocent civilians’ from Gaza had an active role in the pogrom inside the Israeli settlements, in the systematic murder of Jews and the spilling of their blood, the kidnapping of kids, elderly, and mothers, and in the tying up of babies and burning them alive! It is forbidden to show mercy to the cruel, there is no place for any humanitarian gesture—the memory of Amalek must be wiped out”

Former Head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, 16 October: “Currently Gaza is under siege. If you’ve heard my statements on the matter, I said ‘don’t blink’—I’ve seen [now] the first blink … —letting in water to the south of Gaza … If this was done due to pressure from the international community, which doesn’t understand that Gazan civilians went through the fence—civilians! Not just the Hamas terrorists—you’ve seen them in the pictures, completely unarmed, they didn’t have RPGs, they didn’t arrive on motorcycles, looting and participating in the deplorable murder of women and babies” [He doesn’t finish the point because the interviewer moves on to the next question, but the implication is that the civilian population of Gaza should be punished]

Meirav Ben-Ari MK (Yesh Atid, opposition), 16 October: “And the children in Gaza—the children in Gaza have brought this upon themselves!”

Gideon Sa’ar MK (Blue and White, governing), 14 October: “Gaza must be smaller by the end of the war”13

President Isaac Herzog, 13 October: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved, it’s absolutely not true. They could’ve risen up, they could have fought against that evil regime”14

Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, 13 October: “Option C: The evacuation of the civilian population from Gaza to Sinai … will yield positive, long-term strategic outcomes for Israel, and is an executable option … In the first stage, tent cities will be established in the area of Sinai, the next stage includes the establishment of a humanitarian zone to assist the civilian population of Gaza and the construction of cities in a resettled area in northern Sinai … A sterile zone of several kilometers should be created within Egypt, and the return of the population to activities/residences near the border with Israel should not be allowed. In addition, a security perimeter should be established in our territory near the border with Egypt … Israel must act to promote a broad diplomatic initiative aimed at countries that will support assisting the displaced population and agree to absorb them as refugees”15

Energy Minister Israel Katz, 13 October: “All the civilian population in gaza is ordered to leave immediately. We will win. They will not receive a drop of water or a single battery until they leave the world” 

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 13 October: “Israel needs to create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, compelling tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Egypt or the Gulf. In order for this to happen, Israel needs to demand four key points with greater determination than ever before. 1) The entire population of Gaza will either move to Egypt or move to the Gulf … 2) Every vehicle in Gaza is considered a military vehicle transporting combatants. Therefore, there is no vehicular traffic, and it does not matter whether it is transporting water or other critical supplies … Israel has no choice. It is comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, which led to the launch of an atomic bomb in Japan. As a result, Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist”

Energy Minister Israel Katz, 12 October: “Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home”

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, 12 October: “The fighting spirit of the IDF blows at Gaza in all its might—and we won’t stop here. Gaza will not look the same… Whoever stays there will understand very well that such a thing cannot be done to the State of Israel”

Energy Minister Israel Katz, 11 October: “For years we supplied Gaza with electricity, water and fuel. Instead of saying thank you, they sent thousands of human animals to slaughter, murder, rape and kidnap babies, women and the elderly—that’s why we decided to stop the flow of water, electricity and fuel and now their local power station has collapsed and there is no electricity in Gaza. We will continue to tighten the siege until the Hamas threat to Israel and the world is removed. What was will not be”

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon, 11 October: “The residents of Gaza must evacuate their homes just as the residents of Israel near the border evacuated. The Gazans have large spaces in the Sinai where they can evacuate, the international community will mobilise and set up tent cities for them if necessary and ensure that their immediate needs are me”

Amit Halevi MK (Likud, governing), 11 October: “We will pay a heavy price only if we wait and don’t land a decisive blow on Hamas, a blow on the order of magnitude of 10,000 dead among its men. If we make sure they have many fatalities and that 400,000 refugees flee through the Rafah crossing, there won’t be worry about large scale slaughter among our forces.16 We should open the immigration gates to Gaza and to the see. Let people get out and make it clear: he who chooses to leave—can leave. Anyone who stays, bears full responsibility for what will happen to him”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 11 October: “Israel has no choice but to render Gaza into a place that is temporarily, or permanently, unfit for living. Translating this decision [into actions] requires the following steps: First, announcing today to the residents of Gaza that if they value their lives they have to leave for Egypt or gather on the beach in 12 hours. Any building no matter what will be considered a military target. Second, they must evacuate the UNRWA schools and al-Shifa hospital, which will then immediately be attacked by the Air Force, since the bunkers under them are Hamas command centres. Thirdly, we should not be satisfied with stopping the passage of electricity, fuel, and water to Gaza, but rather incrementally hit targets that provide these necessities, and block with firepower any attempt by vehicles to travel from Rafah to the north, if needed. Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a required means to achieving the goal. We don’t have to worry about international pressure. This pressure is positive, and it will allow us to respond: so what are you proposing? If Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Saudi Arabia want to prevent a humanitarian disaster—have them volunteer to find a solution for Gaza, but one which does not include Hamas.”

Unnamed Israeli defence official, 10 October: “Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents. There will be no buildings”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 10 October: “Gallant toured southern Israel along the Gaza border, telling soldiers they are moving to ‘a full-scale response’ to the Hamas surprise attack and that he has ‘removed every restriction’. ‘Hamas wanted to see a change in Gaza—the reality is Gaza will make a 180. They will regret’”. He also said: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. Hamas will be no more. We will eliminate everything” 

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, 10 October: “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy”

Coordinator of Government in the Territories Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, “speaking to Hamas and the residents of Gaza”, 10 October: “Hamas became ISIS and the citizens of Gaza are celebrating instead of being horrified. Human beasts are dealt with accordingly. Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza: no electricity, no water, just damage. You wanted hell—you will get hell”

Revital “Tally” Gotliv MK (Likud, governing), 10 October: “Only an explosion that shakes the Middle East will restore this country’s dignity, strength, and security! It’s time to kiss doomsday. Shooting powerful missiles without limit. Not flattening a neighbourhood. Crushing and flattening Gaza. Otherwise, we would have done nothing. Not with passwords, with penetrating bombs. Without mercy! Without mercy!”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 10 October: “Israel closed the water supply to Gaza, but there are many wells in Gaza, which contain water which they treat locally, because originally they contain salt. If the energy shortage in Gaza makes it so that they stop pumping out water, that’s good. Otherwise we have to attack these water treatment plants in order to create a situation of thirst and hunger in Gaza, and I would say, signal [sic] an unprecedented economical and humanitarian crisis”

Interviewer: Giora, I want to check that I understand correctly. You are saying—get the residents of Gaza into thirst, into hunger. These are the terms you are using?

“You understood correctly…. Exactly 90 years ago, 1933, Hitler was democratically elected in Germany, with huge support from the German population, and therefore when he started a war of extermination against the whole world, the world justly fought against the country of Germany, including through indiscriminate bombing of the population. When Japan started a war in Pearl Harbour, which is by the way pretty similar to what happened to us in terms of the shock, the US took off the gloves, and at a certain stage was not afraid to use the ultimate weapon, and it was the entire Japanese people, not the leadership, who paid the price…. This is a reality for us or them. Hamas is not a terror organisation, it is the representative of a State, the population of which supported and [still] supports Hamas, which is its authentic representative, and therefore this population is now suffering, and should suffer, a price that will make it change its mentality”

Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 9 October: “Erase Gaza. Nothing else will satisfy us … Do not leave a child there[,] expel anyone who remains there when it ends, so that they won’t re-establish”

Unnamed IDF officer, 9 October: “This is not about surgical strikes and military infrastructure anymore … This means we will obliterate civilian infrastructure as well. Apartment buildings will be toppled. Hezbollah feeds off our apprehension to land a decisive strike, which means we will exhibit the exact opposite to avoid opening a northern front”

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, 9 October: “The goal that has been outlined in the IDF is that on the day after the war, every being left in Gaza will understand the price of starting a war with the State of Israel … Throughout the past 24 hours, we have been conducting aerial strikes—destructive aerial operations that include thousands of armaments. To put that in perspective, the pace of the strikes is five times that of the strikes on Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War. I repeat, five times what it was against Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War”

Energy Minister Israel Katz, 9 October: “I ordered to immediately cut off the water supply from Israel to Gaza. Electricity and fuel were cut off yesterday. What was will not be”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 9 October: “We are imposing a complete siege on the city of Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly”17

Revital “Tally” Gotliv MK (Likud, governing), 9 October: “Jericho missile! Jericho missile! A strategic alert, before we consider introducing our forces. A doomsday weapon! This is my opinion”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 9 October: “The crucial way [sic] to bring down the Hamas regime and achieve a chance, however small, to see our hostages returned—is if there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I’m not ashamed to say that. Israel controls the fuel, soler, electricity, water, and crossings to the Gaza strip. Of course it should not allow the passage of anything to Gaza. But it also has to cut off the connection between Gaza and Egypt. The second issue is the most sensitive point in Gaza: the water. The water in Gaza comes from wells with salt water that is not fit for consumption. They have water treatment plants, Israel should hit those plants. When the entire world says we have gone insane and this is a humanitarian disaster—we will say, it’s not an end, it’s a means”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 8 October: “Israel should completely shut down everything that happens economically in Gaza. Goods and gas, fuel and electricity and water and food. Not only to win the battle, but also because we have so many hostages there. If we ever want to see the hostages alive, the only way is to create a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 7 October (published 5 November):
Interviewer: “Should we implement a policy of Ba’al H’bait Histagea? [i.e., going crazy]”

Eiland: “I prefer not to go crazy, I prefer to be calculated. I wouldn’t attack civilian targets per-se just because they are there, like hospitals and so on. But any military target, even if it is under a mosque or under a hospital or adjacent to a school, I wouldn’t spare it in that case”

Ariel Kallner MK (Likud, governing), 7 October:

“Nakba to the enemy now!

This day is our Pearl Harbour.

We will learn our lessons in due time

At the moment, one goal: Nakba!

A Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of 48.

A Nakba in Gaza and a Nakba to anyone who will dare to join!

A Nakba to them, because like then in 1948, the alternative is clear”

A Nakba to them, because like then in 1948, the alternative is clear”

Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 7 October: “I believe that the only effective way to achieve that strategic goal is to impose a dramatic, continuous, and strict siege over Gaza. This is what Israel has begun to do—we cut the supply of energy, water and diesel to the Strip … People might ask whether we want the people of Gaza to starve. We do not. Therefore, the people of Gaza will have to leave—either temporarily or permanently—via the border with Egypt. When the people have evacuated, and the only ones left in Gaza are Hamas, and when food water has run out—and we can also bomb the water facilities in Gaza so there will be no water—then at some point Hamas will either be completely destroyed or surrender or agree to evacuate Gaza just as Arafat was forced to leave Beirut after an Israeli siege … Israel should not allow any economic assistance. The people should be told that they have two choices; to stay and to starve, or to leave. If Egypt and other countries prefer that these people will perish in Gaza, this is their choice … Within 2 hours Israel could destroy all the water facilities in Gaza. We will not do it today because there are 2 million people there. But we will do it a minute after they leave when the only ones remaining are Hamas. We can be patient, similar to sieges all over history when they last weeks, months and years until the other side possess no ability to function … I’m not punishing the people of Gaza. Hamas behaved like ISIS but they grew in Gaza with the full support of the people of Gaza; 70-80% of people supported them even if they knew their ideology. People have to be accountable for decisions that they make (such as in Germany)”

Minister for the Advancement of the Status of Women May Golan, 7 October: “All of Gaza’s infrastructures must be destroyed to its foundation and their electricity cut off immediately. The war is not against Hamas but against the state of Gaza”

1 The most plausible interpretation of Dichter’s statement is that the blow being inflicted on Gaza is comparable to the Nakba. He did not state that Gaza’s population would be expelled or that displaced people would be prevented from returning.
2 This reportedly referred to military control rather than civilian resettlement. “I said I want full security control. Gaza must be demilitarized”, Netanyahu said. “I don’t think [resettlement] is a realistic goal, I’m saying it plainly”.
3 Prime Minister Netanyahu criticised Eliyahu’s comments as “divorced from reality”, stated that “Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents”, and reportedly suspended Eliyahu from government meetings. Eliyahu claimed his reference to nuclear weapons was just “metaphorical”. On 5 November, Channel 13 journalist Raviv Drucker reported that Eliyahu was apparently not suspended after all.
4 Here” presumably refers to the Al-Atatra neighbourhood of Beit Lahiya in Gaza. Ha’aretz reported in July 2023: “Eshel, who lives in the settlement of Kfar Adumim and was the creator of the premilitary academies project, wields strategic influence in the Israeli right. He was responsible for the political pairing of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, he’s behind the formation of Hashomer Hahadash, a civilian defence organisation meant to protect Jewish settlements in the Negev and the Galilee, and he’s also behind visits of Jewish high-school students to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron”.
5 1 Samuel 15:3: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass”.
6 This statement is backed by legislation put forward by Halevy, but there is no mention of it on the Knesset website.
7 Ben Barak later claimed that he didn’t mean “forced transfer” but rather a plan that will be carried out with the consent of the people of Gaza, who want to escape Hamas’ “regime of fear”. The phrasing of his original statement doesn’t allow for this interpretation.
8 Eiland has been and remains highly influential in formulating Israel’s policy towards Gaza. As Director of the National Security Council (2004-2006) he “[l]ed the drafting, planning, and coordination of the [2005] Disengagement Plan from Gaza”. Along with Gabi Siboni and Gadi Eisenkot, Eiland was an early proponent of the “Dahiyeh doctrine”. He argued that Israel should make clear to the Lebanese Government and people that, in the event of another war, Israel would inflict “destruction of the national infrastructure, and intense suffering among the population”; “destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people”. This policy was subsequently implemented in Gaza. Since 7 October 2023, Eiland has participated in Defence Minister Gallant’s war cabinet and held daily meetings with Gallant.
9 1 Samuel 15:3: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass”.
10 If Bennett mentioned the prospect of international pressure forcing a premature “halt” to the “operation,” it may be because he’s still bitter about the international pressure on Israel in the wake of the 1996 Qana massacre, in which he played a significant role.
11 In 2014, Feiglin—then Deputy Speaker of the Knesset—urged that “we internalise the fact that the Oslo [Accord] is finished, that this is our country—our country exclusively, including Gaza” and proposed the expulsion of Gaza’s civilian population: “The IDF shall designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunnelling … In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined”.
12 Original publication here.
13 Sa’ar is a leading figure in Israel’s most popular party and part of Israel’s emergency government.
14 When Herzog was challenged whether this made Gazan civilians “legitimate targets”, he replied, “No, I didn’t say that”. But he then added: “When you have a missile in your goddamn kitchen and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself?” He also later stated: “there are many, many innocent Palestinians who don’t agree to this—but unfortunately in their homes, there are missiles shooting at us, at my children”.
15 +972 Magazine revealed and authenticated this document. The Intelligence Ministry “is not directly responsible for any intelligence body, but rather independently prepares studies and policy papers that are distributed to the Israeli government and security agencies for review, but are not binding … its influence is considered relatively small”.
16  It is unclear in the original whether he means that Israeli soldiers will not worry about committing a large-scale slaughter, or alternatively, that there will be no risk that many Israeli soldiers will be slaughtered.
17 Chris McGreal of the Guardian comments: “Perhaps Gallant only meant Hamas but he didn’t say so and that left a lot of leeway for those who would go further”.

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