Israeli officials made a stunning admission this week — that civilian casualties are a necessary evil as they seek to completely destroy Hamas.
In the last two-and-a-half months, Israel has launched plenty of missile attacks on the Gaza Strip, leveling a lot of it and killing almost 20,000 people in the process. Officials in Gaza say there are more than 50,000 people who have been injured and many more who could be trapped under some of the collapsed buildings.
This all comes at a time when health-care services in the Gaza Strip aren’t working properly, due to the damaged infrastructure and compromised communication systems.
Two Israeli officials spoke at the Palmachim Air Force Base Monday and said that the country is having discussions before each attack that they launch. One of the topics of those discussions is how to balance the death of civilians against a potential military advantage they might have.
One of those officials, who serves as an Israeli Defense Forces legal advisor, said that they were carrying out “thousands and thousands of attacks and often attacks that require heavy firepower.” That’s the only way the IDF is able to break through the tunnels that Hamas has constructed under Gaza.
As he said to journalists at a briefing:
“Really tragically that results in a large number of civilian casualties.”
Israel has been bombarding Gaza with attacks ever since the terrorist organization Hamas carried out a surprise attack on the country on October 7, killing 1,200 people in the process, most of whom were civilians.
In addition, they took a large number of hostages, most of which they are still holding.
At first, Israel had the support of much of the western world when it initiated its retaliatory attacks. However, that support has waned a bit in recent weeks as reports about all the loss of life have emerged.
While the U.S. was one of only a few member states of the United Nations to vote against a motion to demand an immediate ceasefire by Israel and Hamas, even some top American officials are now slightly changing their tone.
Lloyd Austin, the U.S. secretary of defense, said on Monday that he urges his counterparts in Israel to reduce the harm that they’re causing to civilians.
He said that protecting civilian lives in Gaza was “a moral duty and a strategic imperative.”
Austin added that if excessive violence continues, it will breed further resentment that ultimately would serve as a benefit to Hamas, consequently making a peaceful coexistence between the two sides that much harder.
Even President Joe Biden said that Israel’s bombing in Gaza is “indiscriminate.”
IDF officials have continually said that they are taking all feasible precautions before launching strikes so that civilian harm is mitigated, as per international law.
Yet, Ghazi Hamad, a senior official with Hamas, said recently that Israel was “indiscriminately bombing schools and tents that house hundreds of thousands of displaced people and hospitals protected by international humanitarian law.”