Ex-top general: IDF op against Hamas at Shifa Hospital inescapable; US must back it

Major General (ret.) Giora Eiland, former IDF operations chief and ex-head of the National Security Council. (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Major General (ret.) Giora Eiland, former IDF operations chief and ex-head of the National Security Council. (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Maj-Gen (ret.) Giora Eiland, a former IDF operations chief and former head of the National Security Council, says he sees no choice but for the IDF to carry out a military operation at Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital, which the IDF has said sits atop a major Hamas operations base and tunnel network.

He says he hopes it is clear to the US that it should support such an IDF action, even if it results in thousands of civilian deaths.

In an interview with Channel 12, Eiland stresses appreciation for American support of Israel in its campaign to destroy Hamas in Gaza, but asserts that the US is “having trouble appreciating that Gaza is not Mosul and not like the areas where Islamic State was fought… It is the most fortified place in the history of humanity, with the best of Iranian technology, and billions invested.

The Americans also speak of Gaza “as though there is Hamas, bad people, and civilians in Gaza, who are innocent and need to be saved,” Eiland says. “That is not the reality in Gaza. Gaza to a very great extent is a Nazi state, in which they have managed to recruit the entire civil society in support of the struggle against Israel. Every other home in Gaza has an entrance down to the tunnels below. These are private homes. All the hospital and school administrators are Hamas workers. There is a great effort by all Gazans against Israel,” he says. “They are united around their leadership, not opposed to the leadership.”

In the long-term, for the sake of Israel and the US, Eiland says, “we don’t only need to reach a real achievement there, but that achievement has to resonate as follows: This is what happens to those who carry out slaughter against the State of Israel.”

If so, the current “very difficult pictures [from Gaza] and international pressure in the short term, will translate in the long-term to considerable admiration for Israel,” Eiland argues. “And if not to admiration, then at least to respect. And in the Middle East, the word ‘respect’ refers only to those who know how to use power and don’t have reservations about doing so.”

Eiland urges the US “not to fall into the trap that the Jordanians, the Egyptians, and the Saudis are saying… ‘Oy, oy, oy, this is terrible, put the pressure on Israel. They’ve been doing that for 20-something years.”

The retired general, who has said he is currently serving as an adviser to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant but not on core issues of the war, says US military officers increasingly “understand what I am saying. They understand that for America’s interests, if they want respect for Americans, then Israel must create some kind of… effect [in Gaza] that will cause everybody to be afraid of them.”

Noting that the head of the CIA, Bill Burns, visited Israel today, Eiland says, “I hope this was explained to him. And if there is an intention for a military action at Shifa [Hospital], which I think is inescapable, I hope that the head of the CIA got an explanation of why this is necessary, and why the US must ultimately back even an operation like this, even if there are thousands of bodies of civilians in the streets afterward.”

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