Retired Israeli general says spread of disease in Gaza 'will bring victory closer'

Retired Israeli general says spread of disease in Gaza 'will bring victory closer'
Retired Israeli General Giora Eiland said that the spread of deadly diseases in Gaza will help Israel achieve its war aims, while suggesting that the entire population of the territory was a valid target
3 min read
21 November, 2023
Retired Israeli general Giora Eiland assumed leading roles in previous Israeli wars on Arab countries [Getty]

A retired Israeli army commander has suggested that the spread of deadly diseases in the Gaza Strip would be a favourable outcome amid Israel's indiscriminate war on the besieged Palestinian enclave, amid a series of statements by top Israeli officials branded "genocidal". 

Major General Giora Eiland, who previously headed Israel's National Security Council, said in an article entitled  “Let’s not be intimidated by the world” that epidemics could aid Israel's war effort.

“The international community is warning us against a severe humanitarian disaster and severe epidemics. We must not shy away from this. After all, severe epidemics in the south of Gaza will bring victory closer,” Eiland said in the article, which was published in the Hebrew-language edition of Yedioth Ahronoth.

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The retired general, who assumed leadership roles in the Israeli army in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the Second Intifada which began in 2000, argued that the entire population of Gaza are integral to Hamas' operations in an attempt to justify targeting them. 

“Who are the ‘poor’ women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters or wives of Hamas murderers,” Eiland claimed, “And no, this is not about cruelty for cruelty’s sake, since we don’t support the suffering of the other side as an end but as a means.”

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich tweeted Eiland’s column and said that he “agrees with every word.” The far-right minster, known for his violently racist comments against Palestinians, has previously vowed that fuel will not be allowed into Gaza “under any circumstances,” while bakeries and hospitals were failing to operate.

Eiland’s comments were widely translated and shared on social media, where users expressed outraged at the continued lack of accountability regarding genocidal comments made by top Israeli officials.

The death toll from Israel's strikes and ground invasion of Gaza has exceeded 13,300 people, more than 5600 of whom are children.

Shashank Joshi, the defence editor of The Economist wrote on X: “The idea that anyone with these sadistic & dehumanising views might have reached the rank of major-general, as Giora Eiland did, or indeed served anywhere in the IDF, let alone headed the national security council, is chilling.”

Giora Eiland wrote another op-ed published in English on 12 October, calling on Israel to create unbearable conditions to push "tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Egypt or the Gulf."