As Israel bombed it dozens of times in the past day, a senior Israeli minister has incited the total destruction of Gaza.
On Tuesday, Israeli army radio tweeted the comments of energy minister Yuval Steinitz, who stated, “I do not rule out the possibility of conquering Gaza and destroying it once and for all.”
As Israeli journalist Asaf Ronel pointed out, Steinitz’s words as quoted by army radio are unambiguous in their reference to Gaza itself being destroyed:
On Tuesday, Steinitz made similar statements to the publication Ynet: “We may have no choice, we will have to strike in Gaza and conquer it, and put an end once and for all to this terrorist regime.”
In that interview, Steinitz appears to be referring to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two political and military groups that carried out rocket and mortar strikes against Israel on Tuesday after months during which not a single such projectile was fired from Gaza.
But Steinitz’s reference to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Ynet in no way mitigates the genocidal nature of his comments on army radio, since Israel does not distinguish between civilians in Gaza and combatant members of the organizations Israel deems “terrorist.”
Indeed Israel’s justification for the mass slaughter of unarmed civilians during Gaza’s Great March of Return protests is its claim that the rallies are organized by Hamas and thus anyone, even a child, is fair game for snipers.
Israel provokes escalation as Palestinians seek calmThree Israeli soldiers were injured by shrapnel from mortar fire from Gaza on Tuesday, one moderately.
Ynet also reported that a resident of the Israeli town of Sderot “fell down and suffered contusions while running to a shelter, as three additional civilians suffered panic attacks.”
As the BBC acknowledged – buried near the end of a report – “The upsurge in violence came after Israeli tank fire killed four militants in Gaza in two separate incidents at the start of the week.”
In one of those incidents last Sunday, Israel killed three members of Islamic Jihad, after which the group vowed it would retaliate.
The Palestinian armed response to Israel’s attacks appears to have had the intended effect: it has induced Israel to agree to return to the ceasefire understandings reached after Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza.
According to Haaretz, Israel agreed to a Hamas proposal for a ceasefire conveyed via Egypt.