Israeli Defense Minister Threatens ‘Gaza Will Burn’ as IDF Readies Plans for Ground Invasion

Benny Gantz’s comments “should be entered directly as evidence of war crimes to the International Criminal Court,” said one critic.

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened that “Gaza will burn” as Israel’s military reportedly readied plans Thursday for a possible ground invasion of the occupied Palestinian territory, a major escalation that human rights advocates warned would lead to more destruction and civilian deaths.

In remarks dubbed as a message to the people of Gaza, Gantz—who served as chief of general staff for the IDF during Israel’s deadly 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip—claimed that “Hamas leaders bear responsibility for your being hunkered down in your homes” amid Israeli airstrikes.

“If citizens of Israel have to sleep in shelters” due to Hamas rocket attacks, Gantz said late Wednesday, “then Gaza will burn.”

Observers viewed Gantz’s remarks as a direct threat to inflict mass civilian casualties on one of the most densely populated areas in the world, a territory considered by many to be an “open-air prison” crowded with around two million people.

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifadatweeted that Gantz’s remarks “should be entered directly as evidence of war crimes to the International Criminal Court.”

“Gantz said ‘Gaza will burn,'” Abunimah continued. “It’s direct evidence of premeditation to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. No one can say ‘I didn’t know.’ Anyone who aids, abets, or justifies this criminal regime has blood on their hands.”

Gantz’s comments came as Israel intensified its devastating bombing campaign in Gaza, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to “hit them with strikes they have never dreamed of.”

Since Monday—when Hamas fired rockets in response to Israeli forces’ assault on worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem—Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have leveled major residential buildings and killed more than 80 Palestinians, including more than a dozen children.

“Palestinian residents of Gaza Strip woke up on Thursday to mark Eid al-Fitr—one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic calendar—amid relentless aerial bombardment by Israel,” Al-Jazeera reported. “Heavy bombardment on the Gaza Strip continued early on Thursday as Israeli forces launched a series of air raids on various locations.”

Later Thursday, plans for a potential ground invasion of Gaza are expected to reach the IDF general staff for approval before heading to Israel’s political leadership, which has repeatedly rejected cease-fire offers from Hamas, the United Nations, and Egypt.

While it is unclear whether a ground invasion will take place, Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeill said the possibility is “absolutely terrifying for civilians in Gaza trapped with nowhere to go.”

Umm Majed al-Rayyes, a 50-year-old mother of four who lives in Gaza City, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that “this whole territory is a tiny place.” Al-Rayyes said she was forced to flee to a neighbor’s house in the middle of the night after Israeli bombs struck her apartment building.

“It’s a prison,” said al-Rayyes. “Everywhere you go, you’re a target.”

This article is from Common Dreams.

8 comments for “Israeli Defense Minister Threatens ‘Gaza Will Burn’ as IDF Readies Plans for Ground Invasion

  1. Philip Dunkelbarger
    May 14, 2021 at 09:37

    The blood of Palestinians will be on the hands of every American. This would not be happening but for US. Our government can’t even support a UN Security Council statement calling for the de-escalation of violence; we blocked it with our veto, calling the statement “un-helpful.” We were the only one to stand against sanity. The vote was 14-1. Couple that with the $4 billion in military aid we give to Israel every year and, I repeat, the blood of the Palestinians will be on the hands of every American.

    • May 14, 2021 at 12:55

      Not on my hands.
      I’m an American, so try not to over generalize if you don’t mind.
      Not on my hands.

  2. John R
    May 14, 2021 at 09:20

    From what I’ve seen over the years there seems to be nothing that the Israelis do to the Palestinians that is ever considered a war crime. The old refrain is “Israel is justified in protecting its interests.” I guess that means the continued murders and land theft will continue unabated with US support.

    • Bob Martin
      May 15, 2021 at 00:17

      Israel behaves towards the Palestinians as the US does towards the world–with complete disdain and utter impunity. Both countries are evil to their core.

  3. May 14, 2021 at 08:07

    I think there is already a civil war of sorts that has commenced (not one within Israel directly) and not one that truly involves any military weapons. I think I know who is going to lose. Do you know what I’m typing about? Have you connected the dots? Have you been reading the news?
    In a sense, it started civilly, but earnestly as necessary after way too much needless delay, but better late than never. It has already been reported here at CN and elsewhere. More and more reports continue to flood in. Now the momentum is building and the real irony is the more offensive the “leaders” of Israel continue to behave – folks such as this benny fella – the worse it is going to get for them – individually as I sense it. It will be as if they are in a vice grip that they are defenseless against and the decisive blow will be swift when it happens. Well, you get what you give.
    No doubt it is precarious, especially for all the innocence in the Gaza strip as well the innocence nearby. A “caged animal” or you could say a “pack of hyenas” are unpredictable, but consensus is building who the offenders have been and continue to be. Many have known for many years and I think everybody is fed up with it. Enough is enough. Lets end the needless bloodshed of innocence being perpetuated by those who think they can dominate without consequence. Innocence holds power reminiscent just to say it again and that power has nothing to do with gold.
    Peace is easy.
    Get with the game!

  4. Jon Adams
    May 14, 2021 at 04:34

    What is the difference between Nazism and Zionism?

  5. Susan
    May 13, 2021 at 17:16

    Gantz can say “Gaza will burn” – and he will get away with it. I can say “Israel will burn” – and I won’t get away with it. In fact, my comment probably won’t get past the moderators. The ICC has been neutered, along with all the other international bodies that were created to promote peace, justice and health.

  6. Reader
    May 13, 2021 at 16:56

    I have not seen a government that I like yet!

Comments are closed.