Retired Israeli Major General Yoav Galant told an audience at Tel Aviv University on Monday that military action would eventually be necessary to root out terror in the Gaza Strip.
A “negligence of the military side,” he said “has [sic] meant that while in the West Bank we took care to tend to the lawn, in Gaza, since we didn’t, thorns had grown into tree trunks, and, in the end, we’ll have to go in there with bulldozers,” Galant said.
Whether the people of Gaza feel they have been “neglected” by Israel’s “military side” is another question. In the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 – Operation Cast Lead – up to 1,400 Palestinians were killed, 5,000 injured, and billions of dollars of infrastructure damage and numerous incidents of IDF attacks on civilian facilities.
Since then, Gaza has been unable to re-build in part due to an aggressive sanctions regime imposed by Israel which bans most imports and causes immense human suffering. The conclusions of a September U.N. report claimed the blockade is illegal. It has subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law,” it said.
According to one of the U.N. special rapporteurs, about one third of Gaza’s arable land and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures.
A report of the Secretary General to the U.N. Security Council in April reported that Gazan civilians are attacked by Israeli forces while in Gaza’s so-called “buffer zone,” about 300 metros from the Gaza fence. “In 2010,” said the report, “40 boys and 4 girls were allegedly injured by Israeli fire in or near the buffer zone. Of those, 26 boys, some as young as 13, were shot while collecting gravel within 800 metres of the fence. In cases where sworn affidavits were taken, 19 children were shot in the leg, 2 in the arm and 1 child was shot in the head.”
Major General Galant appears not to have considered whether intense military and economic subjugation may have more to do with the growth of what he calls “thorns [growing] into tree trunks.”