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Fighting Amalek in Gaza: What Israelis Say and Western Media Ignore
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)
“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” (Coordinator of Government in the Territories Major General Ghassan Alian, “speaking to Hamas and the residents of Gaza”, 10 October)
“the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy” (IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, 10 October)
“Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents. There will be no buildings” (Israeli defence official, 10 October)
“Israel has no choice but to render Gaza into a place that is temporarily, or permanently, unfit for living” (Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 11 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 … The entire population of Gaza will either move to Egypt or move to the Gulf” (Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 13 October)
“‘Remember what Amalek did to you’ … This is a war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness” (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 3 November)
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: 6 December 2023]
IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, 6 December: “[Yahya] Sinwar’s house is the [entire] Khan Younis area”
Former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Member of the Knesset and Head of Israel Beytenu Party (opposition), 3 December: “There are no innocent [civilians] in Gaza. For years, good people with good intentions … believed in and promoted the idea of peace between us and the Palestinians. [This] dream was shattered into pieces on October 7, 2023…. Gaza is a wasps’ nest of terrorists. There is complete synchronisation between Hamas and ‘innocent’ civilians…. 99.9% of the publications [in the Gazan press and social media] are words of praise and wall-to-wall support for Hamas and the horrible acts of October 7th. Now, let someone show me where [all these] innocent people who are not involved in terrorism are hiding in the Gaza Strip”
Former Lieutenant Colonel Sa’ar Raveh, one of the founders of the IDF’s psychological warfare centre (MALAT, or “Consciousness Centre”), 24 November: “Victory is not just the defeat of all Hamas terrorists, or the elimination of Yahya Sinwar or Mohammad Deif. The question is how the population in Gaza perceives the Israeli victory in their view, and vice versa”
Interviewer: “As someone familiar with the other side, what will make them recognize an Israeli victory?”
Raveh: “First of all, they need to understand unequivocally that Hamas will no longer control the Gaza Strip. But the second dimension is to make them believe that they have an alternative, that something better can come out of the war”
Interviewer: “At the moment it seems that we have not yet transitioned to that stage”
Raveh: “The State of Israel is currently in a mood of revenge, and rightly so. Telling Gazans now that something good will happen in the future is irrelevant. What they see now is the disaster that happened to them, of [having to] leave their home and [becoming] drifters. The next phase has not yet started, and it will take a long time”
Limor Son Har-Melech MK (Otzma Yehudit, governing), 23 November: “There is no escape from returning and fully controlling the Gaza Strip, full control that will include an extensive and flourishing settlement in the entire Strip. Not like the Gush Katif settlements that were concentrated in a few isolated areas, but a settlement along the entire length and breadth of the Strip”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 21 November: “Our mistake is that we accepted the American narrative, which is false, that says in Gaza we have—what? The Hamas, which are very bad people—kill them. And next to them there are two million poor good people, and they should be cared for. Not just not kill them, but also that [Israel] should make sure they have water and food and medicine and even fuel to operate their electricity and sewage systems and other things. That’s a very severe mistake. Wars aren’t won when you kill the last of the combatants of the other side. Wars are won when you collapse an adversary system. The weakness of the adversary system [in this case] is not on the military side—Hamas’s military [branch] is very strong, very organised, very well equipped, and the tunnels give [them] very very very significant ability and durability.”
Interviewer: “So what are you saying, that we shouldn’t care about what happens to civilians in Gaza, that it shouldn’t be a consideration of Israel [in the fighting]?”
Eiland: “No, not that we shouldn't care—we should care [and make sure] that there is a severe humanitarian disaster there, and severe epidemics, and horrible pressure, and cries to the sky—because that's how wars are won”
Interviewer: “These are not things I've heard from you in the past”
Eiland: “These things are a necessity of reality. Israel is in no less than an existential war…”
Interviewer: “Right, but how does a humanitarian disaster in Gaza serve Israel’s interests?”
Eiland: “A humanitarian disaster is the only way to bring about the end of the war in a desirable way. Think about it this way: the poor women of Gaza, who are they? They are the mothers and sisters and wives of the Hamas murderers. Gaza’s system, unlike [its characterization by the US which I mentioned earlier] that there is Hamas and there are civilians—it is not true! Gaza is a state that is entirely united around its leader and its ideology for 15 years, without any dissent and with enthusiastic support…. The weak point [of Gaza] is their civilian population, and when it cries to the sky, maybe Sinwar, who is a psychopath, won’t be interested. But the thousands of Hamas terrorists, whose mothers and wives and children who will start suffering from severe illnesses, are the point of weakness. If we want to win the war—that’s how you win a war”
Yair Lapid MK (Yesh Atid, opposition leader), November 20 (?): “The majority of people who were killed were Hamas terrorists. People are saying this number, ‘12,000 people were killed’. Yes, the Hamas is an army of 40,000 people, and many of them were killed, and good riddance”
Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, 19 November: “One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated. We will still have around two million people in Gaza, many of whom voted for Hamas and celebrated the massacre of innocent men, women, and children … Another option is to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip. Those who seek a life elsewhere must be provided with that opportunity. Some world leaders are already discussing a worldwide refugee resettlement scheme and saying they would welcome Gazans to their countries. This could be supported by many nations around the world, especially those that claim to be friends of the Palestinians … This is the solution I am presenting for debate, criticism, and approval”
Unnamed IDF soldier in Beit Hanoun, 19 November: “We find explosives, booby traps, in almost every other house. So we blow everything up to prevent our men from being trapped”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, 19 November: “I agree with every word of Giora Eiland in this article [in which Eiland called for targeting “the entire Gaza population” and causing “severe epidemics” to break out there]”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 19 November: “Israel is not fighting a terrorist organization but against the State of Gaza. The State of Gaza is indeed under Hamas leadership, and this organization managed to mobilize all the resources of its state, the support of the majority of its citizens, and the absolute loyalty of its civil administration, around Sinwar’s leadership, while fully supporting his ideology. In this sense, Gaza is very similar to Nazi Germany…
The way to win the war faster and at a lower cost for us requires a system collapse on the other side and not the mere killing of more Hamas fighters. The international community warns us of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from it, 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. And no, this is not about cruelty for cruelty’s sake, since we don’t support the suffering of the other side as a goal but as a means.
When senior Israeli figures say in the media ‘It’s us or them’ we should clarify the question of who is ‘them’. ‘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 who enthusiastically supported Hamas and cheered on its atrocities on October 7th”
Unnamed “Senior IDF Officer”, 18 November: “The ‘refraction coefficient’ before the ground entry to Jabaliya was not significant because there was a population left there. We have to decide who is more important to us, the population or our fighters. The answer is clear to me”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 17 November: “Israel doesn’t have an interest in Gaza being rehabilitated. If you are asking me, whether a state of prolonged chaos in Gaza, Somalia-style is something Israel can live with—yes, it can”
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 17 November: “All the preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing. We are too humane. Burn Gaza now nothing less!”
Former head of National Security Council and Former Head of the Shin Bet’s Southern Region department, current head of the Misgav Institute, Meir Ben-Shabbat, 16 November: “...Hamas must pay a heavy price for its attack against us, which will entail loss of sovereignty, loss of military capabilities, destruction and devastation, as well as loss of territory”
Golani Brigade Commander, Colonel Yair Palay, 16 November: “When the residents of Gaza come back here, someday, they will not believe what Hamas did to them and their homes. It’s all [Hamas’s] responsibility. It destroyed their lives, their possessions”
Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General Tomer Bar, 16 November: “We are working intensively and powerfully—the face of Gaza will change”
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 16 November: “In 1967 we held them by force. This mistake must not be repeated. As a democratic country we must allow them to leave for other countries, far from here #Voluntary_Transfer”
Chief of Staff of the IDF Northern Brigade in Gaza, Col. (Res., currently in active duty in Gaza) Oren Zini, November 16: “We are talking here about a hornets’ nest. The entire Strip is a hornets’ nest of terrorists. Therefore we have to work systematically … A systematic, continuous, long treatment—without taking to heart all these noisemakers, … there are a lot of noisemakers, we should ignore them at the moment. I object to, now I’m talking privately, yes? As a private individual. I object to the entry of all sorts of things to the other side that might help them recover. I believe in suffocating it. This means stubbornly continuing to strangle them—below ground, above ground”
Interviewer: “Let me tell you another thing, I’m sure you will agree with me: Israel must demonstrate a performance in Gaza that will have significance in two ways: one is ‘so that they see and fear’. We must remember that the entire Middle East is looking at Israel in Gaza; … and the second thing is the domestic scene in Israel—I think Israel, both the military and the state owe our society the completion of the task”
Zini: “Unequivocally, I agree with what you said”
Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon MK (Likud, governing), 15 November: “International law permits us to hit the [Shifa] hospital, even if there are uninvolved people [i.e., civilians] there. You give a notice in advance, it is not the first time [in history] that a military conflict takes place around hospitals…. despite all our humanitarian efforts, the international community still comes to us with claims and accusations, perhaps we have to reconsider [whether these efforts are worth it]…. We are 40 days into the war, and we are conducting ourselves a little bit like we are wearing silk gloves. We must understand that we have here a cruel enemy who must be beaten cruelly. Cruelly, forcefully, with great power. Without putting our forces in danger, and if there are [civilian] casualties—they should blame Hamas”
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 14 November: “[Rehavam] Gandhi was right”1
Kahanist Benzi Gofstein: “[It’s] Kahana, darling. He was the first one”2
Vaturi: “Rabbi Kahana was a great Tzadik [i.e., righteous man]”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, 14 November: “I welcome the initiative of Knesset Members Ram Ben Barak and Danny Danon [published in the Wall Street Journal] regarding the voluntary emigration of Gaza Arabs to the countries of the world. This is the right humanitarian solution for the people of Gaza and the entire region after 75 years of living as refugees in poverty and misery.
The majority of Gaza’s population are the 4th or 5th generation of the refugees of ‘48, who instead of being rehabilitated long ago on a personal and humane basis, like hundreds of millions of other refugees around the world, have been kept as hostages in Gaza under poverty and population density and were a symbol for the aspiration to annihilate the State of Israel and the return of the refugees to Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, and Tiberias. That’s the reason for the intense hatred for the State of Israel and Jews on whose lap the population of Gaza has been educated, a hatred which is the only way to explain the cruelty of the horrible massacre committed by Hamas-ISIS against the citizens of Israel, as if Israel was the source of all their troubles, and in its destruction lies the solution.
A small parcel of land like the Gaza Strip, devoid of natural resources or any independent sources for making a living, any prospects of existing independently, economically or politically, with such high population density, in the long term. Therefore the acceptance of refugees by the countries of the world who truly care about [Gazans’] wellbeing, with the support and generous economic support of the international community, including the State of Israel, is the only solution that will bring to an end the suffering of Jews and Arabs both.
The State of Israel will not be able to accept any longer the existence of an independent entity in Gaza, which, as noted above, will inherently rely upon the hatred of Israel and an aspiration to destroy it”
Ohad Tal MK (Religious Zionism, governing), member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, 14 November: “At the end of the day, Hamas doesn’t care about how many buildings are toppled over the course of this war, although many buildings are toppled, they also don't care about how many people are killed, although many people have been killed and many terrorists—that’s not enough to achieve a picture of victory. There are two additional elements that will create in the consciousness of our enemies the feeling that they have been defeated: one is having been made into refugees (which we are already seeing), and the second one is a territorial price tag—meaning if Gaza doesn’t become smaller in the day after [the war] that will be, in my view, a security problem…. Regarding the question of whether this territory, once we have it, should be settled in—that’s a discussion that should take place later…. I’m already identifying in the other political camp voices who are also calling for these sorts of things [i.e., re-establishing Jewish settlements in Gaza]”
Danny Danon MK (Likud, governing) and Ram Ben Barak MK (Yesh Atid, opposition), 14 November: “It is imperative that the international community explore potential solutions to help civilians caught in the crisis. One idea is for countries around the world to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate … We simply need a handful of the world’s nations to share the responsibility of hosting Gazan residents. Even if countries took in as few as 10,000 people each, it would help alleviate the crisis”3
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely (previously the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Minister of Settlement Affairs, and a Knesset Member on behalf of the Likud Party), 14 November: “We realise every second house [in Gaza] has this entrance to an underground terror city. So they [Hamas] basically turned all the houses in the Gaza Strip into their own facilities. They took over schools, mosques, hospitals, almost everything you can imagine. Think about it as a ghost city that is turning into a terror city”
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 12 November: “The citizens of Lebanon should know, that if Nasrallah makes a mistake, the fate of Beirut might be the same as that of Gaza”
Former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Member of the Knesset and Head of Israel Beytenu Party (opposition) 12 November: “The State of Israel will only be able to keep existing when the entire world knows and internalises that we are the strongest regional power in the region [sic], which is willing to act forcefully at any moment and in any place in the Middle East without fear or self-torment. Only in this way will we be able to restore our deterrence and restore the feeling of security that the citizens of Israel have lost. Enough with the conception that calm must be maintained at all cost. Enough with the softness. Enough with containment. Enough with the defeatist attitude. Let the IDF win”
IDF Spokesperson Unit, 12 November: “The citizens of Lebanon will pay a price for Hezbollah’s decision to become a protector of ISIS”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, 12 November: “I have great appreciation for President Biden, but I think we have to say to the world loudly and clearly that we will have to have an occupation, or more accurately a liberation. I’m seeing something very simple: every time our enemies lost territory, they lost the war. That’s how it has been in ‘48 and ‘67, the two wars we’ve won, … when we took territory from them, that was their Nakba, that was their Naksa.... We need to be in full control, if we have full control, that will deter our enemies, convey a message of victory and most of all 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].... When you are there on the ground you have intelligence, you have control, you are the landlord”
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”
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 12 November: “ ...Not a single Hamas member will remain, and regarding the people of Gaza, we will also have to find a solution for them in my opinion”
Interviewer: “What kind of solution?”
Vaturi: “I don’t know, I heard Denmark wants them, so we will make use of Gaza’s port, put ships there, and take them out. If Egypt doesn't want them, why are we supposed to be the stupid ones and take the garbage that no one [else] wants?”
Interviewer: “Yes, but that is a type of transfer. Two million people, taking them out of their territory... I'm not saying what my personal opinion about it is, but this is how it will be perceived by the world”
Vaturi: “How will it be perceived by the world? That they have a prettier place to be in. Denmark is pretty. Let them go there. We will get the Jews back to Gush Katif … there are three settlements that were in the north of the Strip, we can bring them back”
Interviewer: “That’s in opposition to the view of Netanyahu”
Vaturi: “…he has a mission right now: destroying Hamas. The entry of [supplies] to the south of the Strip is also [in the service of this goal], so that they go there. First of all so that they clear out of the area for us. We are going to turn the north of the Strip upside down. In order to make all the mice come out of their holes, you must turn the Strip upside down. And therefore that’s what we are doing at the moment, and Netanyahu is focused on the goal, and that’s very good. But I can permit myself as a member of the Knesset to tell you that the six year old child of today will [grow up to be] the next terrorist”
Interviewer: “So he should be killed?”
Vaturi: “I didn’t say ‘killed’, I said get out. Stay alive, take $10,000 each, and get out of here. Go away. It’s not good for you here”
Interviewer: “This kind of operation costs billions. Who will pay for it, Israel?”
Vaturi: “Israel can withstand this [project] with US aid. Anyone who wants peace in the Middle East [should understand] that the Gazans must be kicked out of here. They have been educated for murder, for terrorism, they are not going to repent, certainly not in the coming years. Even after they see Hamas bleeding... Like I said, there are children who were raised on the knees of terrorism, they shouldn’t be here”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, 11 November: “To be clear, when we say that Hamas should be destroyed, it also means those who celebrate, those who support and those who hand out candy—they’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed”
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”4
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”
Zvi Sukkot MK (Religious Zionism, governing), chairman of the Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, 9 November: “A picture of victory is Nakba. A Nakba in Gaza. Something very unambiguous, [that will make it] very clear that you don’t mess with the state of Israel. And also, in the micro scale, the shutting down of the Pizzeria, and of the shop in Qalqilya, as many things like that as possible, so that they understand that we changed the floppy disk, that anyone who thinks about harming settlements, the price his environment will pay will be so high that it won’t be worth it and that it is best not to begin to consider it. We’re not there yet, unfortunately. Not there yet. I hope we get there”
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”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council, and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 6(?) November: “Gaza to a very large extent is actually a state, which is a Nazi state in which they have been able to recruit the entire civilian population to support a struggle against Israel. Every second house in Gaza has a shaft with stairs going down to the tunnels—from private homes. All the hospital managers, school superintendents, mayors—are all employees of Hamas. It is a large effort by all Gazans against Israel, and they rally around their leadership, they are not opposed to it. Therefore Israel in this case cannot, I would say, spare these civilians in Gaza”
Yitzhak Kroizer MK (Otzma Yehudit, governing), 5 November: “The Gaza Strip must be flattened…. It’s not a matter of [using] an atom bomb, I think Minister [Amichai] Eliyahu had a very clear message: Gaza has to be wiped off the map, in order to send a message to all our enemies and those who seek us harm…. In Gaza, we have to be clear, there are no innocent [civilians]. There are no “uninvolved” people. If we go back to [October 7], the mob that broke into the Kibbutzim, raped murdered and pillaged, those were not armed militants wearing bands on their foreheads identifying them as part of this or that organization, they were Gazan civilians who up until recently worked in agriculture and construction, and to my dismay have entered and worked in the Kibbutzim as well and elsewhere in Israel—in construction and agriculture, as I’ve mentioned. Therefore we shouldn’t get confused, we define these people as Nazis, and the Nazis had [only] one sentence—death”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council, and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 5 November: “[We must make it clear to the Americans:] It is impossible to be careful not to harm civilians, forget about it, it can't be done! These kinds of things can’t be done more carefully, it is not like an operation, it is not a targeted assassination…. The most important thing [with regards to our messaging to the Americans] is: the Americans think that if they can restrain Israel, bring some humanitarian aid, establish some sort of calm, even at the cost of our operational success, that will buy them some sort of prestige in the Middle East. The opposite is the case: in the Middle East only force is respected, and if Israel causes, I’m saying this privately [not as a member of Defence Minister Gallant’s advisory forum], I’m not an official so I am permitted to say this, to a horrible, horrible! humanitarian situation in Gaza—only when that’s the situation and when it is well understood that this is the outcome, Nasrallah will understand it and so will others, then the Americans will gain more respect. That’s something they don’t understand” [approx. 1hr53m24s]
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”6
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”
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”7
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), 4 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”
Unnamed IDF Official, 3 November: [When the war ends, there will be a 3km wide strip within Gaza that will be completely sterile, full of landmines, under threat of sniper fire, and completely clean of any life form]. “Even a cat won’t be able to go there”
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”8
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”9
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”10
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]”
IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, 31 October: “Yahaya Sinwar … is responsible not only for the massacre of Israelis on October 7th, but also the massacre that collapses the Gaza Strip upon its residents [sic]”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former Head of the National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 30 October: “...Hamas isn't just a terror organization, it has created in Gaza a terror state—supported by a civil administration that services it, just like in Nazi Germany. Anyone who wishes to ‘destroy the Hamas regime’ must dismantle the whole system, including intentional hits against mayors, civil administrators, and the entire civilian system. Furthermore, Israel must decide what is more important for it: being liked by the West, or terrorising [its] enemies in the Middle East. The survivability of the State of Israel necessitates that we pick, at first, the latter. 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 the whole 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”11
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”
Gilad Kenan, Head of the Israeli Air Force’s Air Operations Group, 28 October: “The Air Force is prepared for the continued of the developments in the campaign, and works together with all the bodies in the IDF, under a clear goal—to destroy everything that has ever been touched by the hand of Hamas”
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”13
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!”14
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” Gotliv 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”
Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 20 October: “Crush, crush, crush. Properly…. Patience. We have time…. Crush, crush and crush the Nazi enemy, before sending in our soldiers, our boys. Crush these Nazis with a firepower never before seen here…. Let a thousand terrorist mothers on the other side cry and not one more mother on our side”
Zvika Fogel MK (Otzma Yehudit, governing), head of the Knesset National Security Commission, 19 October: “As far as I’m concerned there are no innocent [civilians], there are those who are openly carrying weapons, and those who are the moment are not openly fighting me. The [Gazan] labourers that we let in have made maps and gave them information and they are the ones who looted us after Hamas entered”
Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi MK (Likud, governing), 19 October: “Nakba?! expel all of them. If the Egyptians are so concerned about them—they are welcome to take them in, [wrapped] in cellophane [and] tied with a green ribbon. Bye bye!”
Battle order issued to IDF soldiers in preparation for the ground invasion, 19 October: “You asked for hell, you’ll get hell. We are in a war that was forced upon us, we will transfer it to their territory. This is our hour. The result: the bodies of terrorists are piling in the streets and the enemy’s infrastructure is destroyed. The method: crush and conquer. We will fight and remain human beings—we are not [like] them”
Major General (Res.) Guy Tzur, former chief of the IDF’s Ground Forces Command, 17 October: “We are not responsible for the residents of Gaza. They elected Hamas which massacred our civilians and kidnapped them. Butchered babies, women and men. Thousands of Gazan residents joined this massacre. Once the residents have taken an active part in the election of Hamas and the massacre of our children—let the world take care of them. Still, we can’t ignore the fact that we are a moral army, and we are not seeking to kill babies. The world will have to take care of Gaza under the restrictions we set”
Former Minister of Internal Security and former Member of the Knesset Omer Bar Lev (Labour, opposition), 17 October: “A complete siege on Gaza. No water, no electricity, no food. Like [the one imposed on] Beirut [in] 1982. Water to the south of the Gaza Strip—only in exchange for the return of the kidnapped children and women. A broad humanitarian operation only in return for the return of all the abductees. [We] must not give in even if Biden puts pressure [on us]”
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”15
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”
Oded Forer MK (Israel Beyetenu, opposition), 16 October: “There are all sorts of rumours about humanitarian corridors, and humanitarian pauses, and maybe designating an hour for the transfer of medicine, and maybe they will turn the water back on—perhaps not in the north of the Strip, just in the south—Mr. Chairman, members of the Knesset, honourable Ministers, let’s be clear: There can be no humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip while there are hostages in the Gaza Strip who receive no humanitarian aid. And are not receiving a single visit, not from the Red Cross, and no one has any idea what is going on with them. No one will speak to me about humanitarianism toward babies in Gaza when there are little [Israeli] children which I don’t know whether they are getting the water they deserve, or the food they deserve, or the medicine. And they shouldn’t [dare] speak with us about transferring medicine to Gaza while our hostages don’t get the medicine they deserve, and none of us knows their fate”
Amit Halevy MK (Likud, governing), 16 October: “This victory should [consist of] two aims: 1. No more Muslim land in the Land of Israel. What they imagine, as if it is Dar al-Islam, will forever be Israeli territory, ‘the holy land’ [said in Arabic], which belongs to the Israelites … That is what victory is. And after we make it into Israel land, Gaza should be left as a monument, like Sodom, ‘nothing sown and nothing growing’ [Deuteronomy 29:23]. And the second … aim is: full Israeli control … Full military and civilian control. Nothing less”
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!”
Advisor to Defence Minister Gallant, former head of National Security Council and former IDF operations chief Giora Eiland, 15 October: “We have two options. One is a ground invasion, which I’m not sure is the right choice. The other is to impose a siege on Gaza, or at least on the north of Gaza, until even the terrorists who have [stocked] food and water and fuel and electricity that will last days and weeks and months—they’ll run out in two years time”
Gideon Sa’ar MK (Blue and White, governing), 14 October: “Gaza must be smaller by the end of the war”16
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”17
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”18
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”
Revital “Tally” Gotliv MK (Likud, governing), 12 October: “Do not show mercy to Amalek. The US also understood after [9/11] that it is necessary to speak in the language of power. Instead of concerning ourselves with “innocent [civilians]” in Gaza, we should talk about [our] 1,500 fallen. If I were the prime minister, I would wipe out Gaza with Jericho missiles and heavy artillery”
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”
Former head of National Security Council and Former Head of the Shin Bet’s Southern Region department, current head of the Misgav Institute, Meir Ben-Shabbat, October 11: “The Israeli operation must turn Hamas’s surprise attack into a Nakba (catastrophe) for Gaza. The IDF must crush Hamas, kill every member of the organisation and exterminate everything related to it. The pattern of surgical operations must be abandoned and we must say goodbye to practices like ‘knock on the roof’. The residents [of Gaza] have been issued warnings, and now it is the time for cannons, not just aircrafts”
IDF Air Force Chief Brigadier-General Omer Tishler, October 11: “Our airstrikes are very broad, but [sic] not surgical. [Attacking] all these areas of terror are targets of substance…. Where there is an enemy and where you want to kill an enemy—you don't do a ‘tap on the roof’ [i.e., you don’t warn the civilian population]. Period”
IDF Air Force Chief Brigadier-General Omer Tishler, October 11: “We operate in a precise and professional manner, but not surgically”
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.19 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.”
Wife of Israeli Prime Minister, Sara Netanyahu, October 10: “I really hope that our revenge, the State of Israel’s [revenge], upon the cruel enemy—will be a very great revenge. I don't call them ‘human animals’ because that would be insulting to animals. We will not forgive nor forget what they did to us, we have to fight until the absolute victory”
Limor Son Har-Melech MK (Otzma Yehudit, governing), 10 October: “Some critical interim conclusions:
A. It’s time for unity!
B. There are no innocent [people] in Gaza.
C. Maximum strangulation of all infrastructure in Gaza (electricity, water, internet, fuel, food, etc.)
D. Gaza must be flattened, literally. Mainly Gaza’s underground, where all the Hamas people are. They all must be erased!
E. Revenge is the most appropriate and moral thing.
F. As long as all the above conclusions are not internalised and carried out, no soldier, not a single soldier, should enter Gaza!
The people of Israel will be tested in Gaza!”
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”
Unnamed former “very senior” officer in the Israeli Air Force, 9 October: “In Gaza we must carry out ‘Dahiya 2’, and do so quickly…. Not just surgical strikes and not only on military targets, but also the destruction of civilian infrastructure. For example—“lay down” residential towers. The more Hezbollah sees that our attack is lax, the greater its motivation to attack will be, and vice versa”
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”20
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”21
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. … When international institutions [cry out] about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and bodies are piling up in the hospital and they cannot treat them, we will reply, “We have no problem solving the real problems of Gaza, but give us back our prisoners first”
Opposition Leader Benny Gantz MK (Blue and White, now part of the governing coalition), 7 October: “Our response must be, and will be, sharp, painful, and one which will leave a mark for many years…. Now there is no more coalition and opposition—just the State of Israel, a single fist that will strike the enemy forcefully. Citizens of Israel, I know in our current situation it is difficult to envision it, but we will end this campaign stronger, and with achievements that will build up an echoing deterrence stronger than ever before”
Revital “Tally” Gotliv MK (Likud, governing), 7 October: “Topple buildings!! Bomb unconsciously!! Stop with this impotence. You have [the] ability. There is wall-to-wall international legitimacy! Flatten Gaza. Without mercy! This time there is no room for mercy!”22
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, 7 October: “15 years ago, as commander of the Southern Command, I was close to breaking Hamas’s neck. At the time, the political echelon stopped me…. That phenomenon will not repeat itself. We will change the face of reality in the Gaza Strip for the coming 50 years. What was is not what will be. We will act with full force”
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”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 7 October: “... We will avenge with great force the black day they have inflicted upon the State of Israel and its citizens. As Biyalik said: revenge for the blood of a little child—has yet been devised by Satan.23 All the places where Hamas is positioned at, of [sic] this city of evil, all the places Hamas is hiding in, operating in, we will turn them into piles of rubble. I’m telling the residents of Gaza: get out of there, now. We will operate everywhere, and in full force”24
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”
Rehavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi was an Israeli general and politician known for advocating the “transfer” of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Rabbi Meir Kahane argued inter alia for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and Gaza, the forcible expulsion of all Palestinians living there, and the imposition of “slavery and taxes” on non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of the far-right Jewish Power party circulated this article with the approving comment: “At the moment of truth, everyone speaks about Jewish power”. Danon subsequently claimed that “nobody is talking about a [population] transfer”—we just “want to give those who want to leave Gaza to another country the opportunity to do so”.
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. In response to this comment by Dichter, as well as Amichai Eliyahu’s affirming the possibility of dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza (quoted elsewhere in this document), Israel’s Attorney General warned: “Pay attention [and refrain from] statements that will be interpreted as violations of the laws of war. These statements assist those who hope to see harm done to us, because they are contrary to international law and interpreted as war crimes”. Prime Minister Netanyahu likewise scolded: “You should learn to shut up and not say things you’ll regret the next day”. Dichter and Eliyahu reportedly “listened in silence” to these admonitions. Perhaps they wished to ask Netanyahu whether “Remember Amalek” was a comment consistent with the principles of international humanitarian law.
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.
“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”.
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”.
This statement is backed by legislation put forward by Halevy, but there is no mention of it on the Knesset website.
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.
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  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.
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”.
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.
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”.
Sa’ar is a leading figure in Israel’s most popular party and part of Israel’s emergency government.
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”.
+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”.
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.
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”.
“Jericho” is a type of Israeli missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and the invocation of its name is well understood as a reference to using nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu conveniently omitted Biyalik’s preceding line: “cursed be the man who says: / Avenge!”
Many Israeli news sources (e.g., here, here, and here) summarised these comments as: “Netanyahu: ‘We will turn the city of evil into piles of rubble’”. Netanyahu’s actual comments were less indiscriminate. But the ubiquity of that one-line summary might indicate that it was put out by the government’s spokesperson department.