'Battle plans for a possible future invasion of Gaza have been partially revealed, with the Israeli military outlining a strategy for a high-intensity campaign to damage civilian infrastructure and weaken Hamas, while still leaving it able to govern.
Israeli army chief Aviv Kochavi’s predecessor, Gadi Eizenkot, presided over the killing of nearly 200 Palestinian protesters in Gaza’s Great March of Return, but was still criticised as being too leftist.
He called for soldier Elor Azaria to be punished for executing an injured Palestinian in Hebron, warned the government that a humanitariancrisis in Gaza would threaten Israeli interests, and insisted that Israeli troops used the minimum necessary force to prevent Palestinians from reaching the Gaza fence.
It is clear that Kochavi, on the other hand, will pander to the right-wing Israeli public, rather than serve the myth that the Israeli military is “the most moral army in the world”.
The new Gaza plans are the latest in a series of moves showing how Kochavi will take the Israeli military on a path towards more violence.
'Mowing the lawn'
The first such move was his inaugural speech, in which Kochavi said that he would strengthen a “deadly” army. The second was in June, when it was reported that Kochavi would expect hundreds of casualties a day for the enemy and “an aggressive physical elimination … a military unit will be required to demonstrate the destruction of more than 50 percent of the enemy’s force: true for Lebanon and for Gaza.”
Then, in July, Kochavi appointed the notorious brigadier-general, Ofer Winter, to command the 98th “Fire Division” of the army, which Kochavi himself used to command.
Winter had been snubbed by Eizenkot for years amid his excessive aggression towards civilians. He presented the 2014 invasion of Gaza as a religious war against “blasphemous” Palestinians. Winter was also in charge of an attack on Rafah known as “Black Friday”.
Turning Gaza into a killing field allows Israeli troops to quench their bloodlust and rebuild their confidence
It is no coincidence that Kochavi’s fury seems to be focused on Gaza. Israeli generals are fond of the expression “mowing the lawn” to refer to periodic attacks on Gaza, as if Gaza is a wild growth that must be kept under control (at the cost of thousands of lives) lest it become a threat to Israeli security.
But turning Gaza into a killing field also serves the interests of Israeli arms companies, who can test their weapons, and allows Israeli troops to quench their bloodlust and rebuild their confidence.'
Read more: Gaza battle plans show the Israeli military is on a dark path