Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Israel’s Minister of Heritage Amichai Eliyahu, a member of the fascist Jewish Power bloc brought into government by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, made waves when he advocated nuking Gaza. Although Netanyahu announced that he had suspended Eliyahu from the cabinet, the prime minister does not actually have that authority. Eliyahu has attended subsequent cabinet meetings. The “suspension” was only a ploy to force Western journalists to repeat this lie in their stories about the nuclear threat. Moreover, there simply aren’t that many in-person cabinet meetings any more — many are held on line.
BBC Monitoring reports that in an interview, Eliyahu insisted that there is “no such thing” as a noncombatant civilian in Gaza. The reporter then asked him if Israel should strike the Gaza Strip with a nuclear warhead, so as to flatten it and “eliminate” everyone there. Eliyahu agreed that “this is one way.”
Although his willingness to consider nuking Gaza in a public interview made the Eliyahu statement unusual, his conviction that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza (despite the presence there of a million minors) is a commonplace among Israeli politicians of all stripes. Further, if we total up the megatonnage of bombs dropped on Gaza by the Israeli Air Force in the past month, it probably equals that of a small thermonuclear weapon.
His remark stirred controversy in part because Israeli policy is to refuse to talk about the country’s nuclear arsenal. Eliahu publicly admitted its existence and, further, illustrated how dangerous it is in extremist hands.
Netanyahu called Eliahu’s pronouncement “detached from reality” because, he said, Hamas holds over 200 Israelis hostage in Gaza. That is, the prime minister seems only to have objected to what Eliahu said because it implied the government’s willingness to sacrifice the hostages in order to commit a genocide against Palestinians. Netanyahu did not reject the idea on the grounds that it would kill innocent Palestinian citizens, either because he doesn’t think such a thing exists or because he doesn’t care even if it did.
For his part, Eliahu insisted that the spirit of the Palestinians must be broken so that they would be afraid to look Israeli soldiers in the eye. He objected to the rules of engagement under which the Israeli military operates, saying “We are breaking the deterrence of the Israeli army with false morals.” His attitude reminds me of the US rightwingers who alleged that the Vietnam War was lost because “we made our army fight with one hand behind its back.” The US is estimated to have killed 2 million people in the course of that war.
Opposition politician Yair Lapid said that this sort of talk is what you get when you let extremists into the government, as Netanyahu had done. He also stressed how offensive it was to the families of the hostages.
Again, Lapid did not so much as mention the tens of thousands of Palestinians who would perish in such a strike.
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Hasan Amir Abdollahian called on the United Nations Security Council immediately to intervene to deprive Israel of its nuclear bombs. He also blamed the Biden administration 100% for the genocide being committed in Gaza.
Some Iranians in their online commentary, according to BBC Monitoring, said that Eliahu’s threat justified Iran in attempting to develop a nuclear deterrent.
Although Iran does not have a nuclear weapons’ program, it has been heavily sanctioned by the US for its civilian program. In contrast, the US and the world community do not mind Israel’s nuclear capability.
In Lebanon and Syria, many commentators alleged that Israel had dropped its mask momentarily, revealing its reality to the world.
A nuclear strike on Gaza, by the way, would create many tons of radioactive fall-out, which would rain down on Israelis.