An Israeli minister has called for the army to bomb Gaza until the population flees en masse into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, and for water and electricity supplies to be cut, a clear case of incitement to war crimes.
Israel Katz, Israel’s transport minister, was quoted on the Orthodox website B’Hadrei Haredim on 11 November:
Israel must act in Gaza with a very clear policy. The leadership of the Hamas, which is responsible for all the attacks and shooting, must be eliminated. Beyond that, we must detach from Gaza in a civilian manner – electricity, water, food, and fuel – and transition into a policy of deterrence, just like in Southern Lebanon.”
Why don’t they shoot at us from Southern Lebanon and do from Gaza? Because there is no clear boundary with Gaza. Because the civilian link with Gaza is unreasonable. Gaza should be considered a border, and every time we are hurt, hurt back [retaliate]. When I see Palestinian citizens escaping into Sinai, the way Lebanese citizens escape toward Beirut when there is a round of fire against Israel – we will then know that the deterrence has been achieved.”
Calling for war crimes
Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, appears to be inciting war crimes of the kind Israel committed in Lebanon and previously in Gaza.
In July 2006, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Lebanon fled their homes to escape an indiscriminate Israeli onslaught that left 1,200 people, mostly civilians, dead, and the country’s infrastructure devastated.
Israel’s bombardment of the civilian areas came to be known as the “Dahiya doctrine” after the southern suburb of Beirut that was leveled by Israeli attacks.
The tactics used by Israeli military armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with previous practices, most recently during the Lebanon war in 2006. A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine emerged then, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.
The Goldstone report noted that Israeli officials had explicitly articulated the goals and methods of this strategy.
Such use of indiscriminate and “disrproportionate” force (there is no such thing as proportionate force against civilians), calculated to destroy civilian infrastructure and cause suffering, amounts to a war crime.
Now, just as in those previous cases, Israeli ministers are not shy about publicly stating their criminal intent, confident of the international impunity and complicity that has so far protected them from accountability.
Israel’s current assault, which it began by breaking a truce with Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, has claimed at least 22 Palestinian lives in recent days, with dozens of injuries.
Sixteen Palestinians have been killed since 14 November, the latest a 10-month old baby named Hanin Tafish. Yesterday, Israeli bombardment killed 11-month-old Omar Masharawi, the son of a BBC staffer in Gaza.
Three Israelis were killed this morning in retaliatory rocket fire from Gaza.
With thanks to Dena Shunra for spotting and translation.