Israel’s top officials at odds over humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Divergences over the potential blowback of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis among ministers, generals and security services

No one disputes that the people of Gaza live in wretched circumstances since they came under Hamas rule. The controversy is over 1) the potential of this distress for sparking an outbreak of violence against Israel, and 2) Israel’s responsibility for taking preventive measures.
The IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott, in a briefing to the cabinet meeting Sunday, Feb. 4, cited a Shin Bet domestic security service assessment. It predicted that the Hamas rulers, who have neither the will nor the ability to solve the people’s problems, will capitalize on their distress (40-50% unemployment) to stage a wave of mass human assaults for battering the Israeli border fence. Israeli troops will shoot to stop the incursion and the resulting massacre will trigger a war. The Shin Bet assessment adds that Hamas is additionally motivated by the urge to get back at Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi for imposing a tight economic and land blockade on the Gaza Strip, as well as showing muscle against the Palestinian Authority, which has stopped funding electricity supplies.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman lined up behind the chief of staff and the Shin Bet, partly hoping that his belligerent rhetoric would save his Israel Beitenu party from a beating at the polls.
The opposite evaluation is offered by IDF Military Intelligence (AMAN), based on facts and figures gathered in secret surveys conducted inside the Gaza Strip. The broad assessment of an ongoing economic crisis is questioned in the survey’s conclusions, because shop shelves and markets were found to be packed with an assortment of foods and consumer goods. If things are so bad, how come the Gazans have started construction on three new shopping malls, and 400 trucks loaded with products and medicines pass through from Israel to Gaza day by day, the military intelligence researchers ask. Electricity and water are indeed in short supply, because the Palestinian Authority refuses to foot the bills, but these shortages have prevailed in the enclave for decades, even under the Egyptian occupation before 1967. As for the galloping unemployment rate, it is not much higher than the average in most other parts of the Middle East.
The AMAN paper therefore sees no cause to determine that that economic distress in Gaza will inevitably lead to a military confrontation.

The Likud Minister of Transport and Intelligence goes along with the Defense Minister and Shin Bet alarmism. Having indicated he is throwing his hat in the ring as successor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, he is urging swift action to alleviate Gaza’s economic distress. Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Future Party, fervently agrees that Israel must extend a helping hand because “We have no quarrel with the people of Gaza, only Hamas.” This view dominates local mainstream media, all of which maintain reporters close to these politicians.

A side show was meanwhile staged at the Palestinian donors’ conference in Brussels. On Jan. 31, an Israeli humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation program for the Gaza Strip was presented by Tzachi Hanegbi, Likud Minister for Regional Cooperation and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordecai, whose term as Coordinator of Government Operations in the Territories is drawing to a close. The programs, aimed at averting a catastrophe, would cost an estimated billion dollars, which “the international community” was asked to finance.
Their timing was off, DEBKAfile’s sources report. Most of the donating governments have given up on the Palestinian cause and back off from raising assistance funding –  even the last pro-Palestinian holdouts, Turkey and Qatar are cagey about shelling out cash.

This week, a group of high-ranking IDF officers stepped up. Fearing the controversy and the contesting freelance initiatives would propel the Gaza situation willy-nilly into a real war crisis, they turned to the defense minister with an appeal to back off from his dire predictions of war. The change of tone was apparent in a television interview the defense minister gave on Feb. 2. “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said, and “an imminent explosion” is not to be expected.  An answering echo came from Gaza, where an anonymous Palestinian official went on record as saying: “A Gaza war is not impending.”

It would be interesting to hear why the chief of staff preferred to heed the Shin Bet on the Gaza crisis, rather than his own military intelligence branch.

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33 thoughts on “Israel’s top officials at odds over humanitarian crisis in Gaza

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 13:08 at 13:08
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    Israel has so far got it wrong every time . Induce and help Gazan rebel to overthrow Hamas leadersdhip out. Then the world can follow restore sone better conditions.

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 13:58 at 13:58
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    I dont know why israel gov dont try to solve their problems with their neighbors, even with small territory such as Gaza (its a city with some village arround it!!)
    Looks like israels diplomats doesnt know what policy is

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 14:19 at 14:19
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      How do you solve problems when the problem is the Islamic hatred for the Christians, Jews and “infidels”?

      Israel would be happy to do business with Arabs but when they uprooted the Jews from Gaza in 2005 the people of Gaza started war, fired missiles, carried out a coup against Fatah (who cares about the minor distinctions between Fatah and Hamas, these beasts all have the same ideology and “Charters”).

      These people get more aid per capita than any people on earth but they throw it away on their obsession with “Jews” and hatred instilled in them by the UN, the EU and leftists in Israel and abroad. They are being told that they must push Jews in the sea and take over.

      The aid being given to the Palestinians is so much that it takes away money from real starving people and refugees who get a pittance. If I were a Muslim being displaced and slaughtered by other Muslim terrorists and leaders, I would find a way to revolt and to eradicate the basis for all the hate – the horrible ideology they live by.

      It is not up to Israel to take care of its enemies – it is up to the enemies to make peace which is permanent and will give their people a chance at better lives instead of interminable Islamic hatred and terrorization of others.

      • Feb 6, 2018 @ 17:38 at 17:38
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        Im not talking about negotiations and peace talks, im talking about israel gov policy and strategy to deal with their own neighbors. I think its possible for diplomats to find a way (sach as helping a group against another group for example) to deal with this kind of problems and make a way for a good deal for israel.
        But now it seems israel diplomats leave policy aside and just waiting for something or someone to come and change this situation

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 14:52 at 14:52
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      Israel’s diplomats certainly do not know what they can possibly offer an implacable enemy that deliberately puts its civilians in harm’s way and forces them to live like wretches. There is no one who negotiate with these scum and give them what they want – unless it involves the long-term complete destruction of Israel. Too many “big smarts” that have all the answers…in the face of crazy muslim fanatics that prefer death rather than live and build their country. Islam is the root cause of not only the issues in Gaza, but everywhere now around the world. 30,000 islamic-related terror incidents since 9/11. So, do not blame Israel for negotiating skill shortcomings when there NO ONE else who could, when faced with this ongoing problem, that can or could do any better. Simplistic approaches have not and do not work…except for armchair experts.

      • Feb 6, 2018 @ 17:43 at 17:43
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        I think diplomats must find a way and think for a solution for at least Gaza problem (im not talking about peace talks, im talking about a successful pilicy that leads to peace talks)

        • Feb 6, 2018 @ 19:34 at 19:34
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          Henry – are you a real moron, or just pretending ?!..

          • Feb 6, 2018 @ 19:40 at 19:40
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            Yossi…I think he went to University to become so stupid.

          • Feb 6, 2018 @ 20:02 at 20:02
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            yosef, LOL!

        • Feb 6, 2018 @ 19:35 at 19:35
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          The best diplomacy for Gaza: Exile the Civilians and kill every Hamas, Fata, and other affiliated Terrorists.
          Flatten it to the ground and start from scratch. Allow Israel and The US to monitor elections so that Mafia Islamo Fascists can’t force their people to live in squalor while they drive luxury cars and live in mansions!

          • Feb 6, 2018 @ 20:01 at 20:01
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            So what are you waiting for? You wise guys go and kill everybody and see what will happend next. You must know israel isnt the first country in this world who has enemies. and solving these kind of problem (beside mussels) needs Thinking

          • Feb 6, 2018 @ 20:07 at 20:07
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            I heard of a seafood restaurant that serves Mussels from Brussels.

        • Feb 7, 2018 @ 4:38 at 4:38
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          Gaza is not Israels responsibility just like it was not Jewish Peoples reaponsibility to help Nazi Germany and poor nazis. If the fakestinians like to pretend they are palestinians instead of arabs and nazis and call Israel occupiers amd teach their children in kindergarten if you kill 2 Jews and then another 2 Jews jw many dead Jews do they have then Israel should mot even give them any support let tje billion mudpims do that snd Henry do that. I as a Jewnwill give my money to Holocaust Survivors, poor of Israel, terrorist victims and Israeli soldiers and people who actually don’t hate me for being a Jew. Also Gaza and Judea and Samaria really belong to the Iewish People and these fakestinian nazi ingrates don’t appreciate that we dont charge them rent, give them electricity and water, and dont beat them to death for murdering, raping, amd torturing us and our children. Its time these people are shown the door. Let them come hate the Europeans in their countries thats where fakestine really is located and in Nazi Iran!

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 14:07 at 14:07
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    So where do all the billions of international and Israeli aid go in all these years? Answer – to war, terrorism, and the European bank accounts of terror leaders in the PA and Hamas, etc. the solution is not more aid. The solution is for the Arab countries to finally take responsibility for their own people and stop oppressing them and using them as proxy terrorists for Islam.

    There are 22 countries in the region where the Terrorstinians would be very happy among their co-religionists and people who have not quite figured out that antisemitism = failure.

    By the way, to say that “We have no quarrel with the people of Gaza, only Hamas,” is about the most insane statement I have heard in quite some time. It is like someone during WWII saying, “We have no quarrel with the people of Germany, only Nazis.” Leftist thinking completely avoids the problem and prevents a solution.

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 14:12 at 14:12
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    They have no jobs but they live better than most arabs and africans and indians!

    Crisis?Look at Darfur!Thats a real Crisis!

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 16:46 at 16:46
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    Import more camels let every Gazan have a camel mate.

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 17:16 at 17:16
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    Just wipe them off the face of the earth. Problem solved

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 17:56 at 17:56
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    Take children from Gaza and the West Bank, ages between 6 and 9, to live with an Israeli family for a month or two, and attend non-religious school in Israel.

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 20:41 at 20:41
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      It is not up to Israel and Jewish people to “educate” Muslims who are brought up in their cultish ideology to hate Jews-Christians-“infidels”. No amount of schooling will decontaminate the ideology, the terrorist mentality, the children abused by their parents, Imams and the UN and brought up to hate others.

    • Feb 7, 2018 @ 7:11 at 7:11
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      Would need to make them orphans first,
      because their parents would never agree.
      Hey, THERE’S an idea…….

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 17:59 at 17:59
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    How can the Jews who have suffered so much in the past in the Nazi imposed ghetto of Warsaw, accept in turn to lock the Palestinians in a ghetto ? This misery will only trigger more hatred, violence, wars and deaths.

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 18:39 at 18:39
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      Buzz off, history revising Euro trash. If anyone has locked the Bedouin Arabs that call themselves “Palestinians” in a “ghetto”, it’s their corrupt, criminal political leaders, not Jews. Get back to the disco, you friggin’ sissy.

      • Feb 6, 2018 @ 19:39 at 19:39
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        MAGA – man: there are just too many bleeding-heart liberal maggot brains: to waste an extra breath on the creatures !

        • Feb 7, 2018 @ 19:07 at 19:07
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          Irony is, such people would be first to be killed under Islamist rule, their pseudo-enlightenment and obligatorily professed “open-mindedness” notwithstanding.

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 19:38 at 19:38
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      Moron…this “Ghetto” is imposed by their own corrupt/evil leadership. You think they would live in such squalor under Israeli Rule? Ever seen some of the Arab Towns in Israel? I should live so well…..
      Obviously, you have no idea of what really goes on.

    • Feb 6, 2018 @ 21:49 at 21:49
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      Gaza is a ghetto because if Islamists. Their orders come from their own leaders and Imams, not from Israel. If Israel were to give them orders then it would be to help their own by ending their antisemitism, their use of Islamism to promote war and their stealing from their own people to use those resources for terrorism. The leftist mind like yours cannot accept the truth that their are some ideologies which make it impossible to dialogue with certain people.

    • Feb 7, 2018 @ 4:49 at 4:49
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      Zorg the Z in your name stands ztupid The Jews only have in our current possession the size of land smaller than new york whereas there is no such thing as a palestinian only muslims. The Muslms together with Europeans, Russians Iranians, and most muslim countries are trying to conttlinue the genocide against Israel both during and ever since the Holocuast. Also it is in fact the muslims that think they have locked the Jewish People in the ghetto again. The muslims have 800 times the size of land that Israel does and you have the nerve to say that we Israel made up mostly of Holocaust survivors and survivors of Russian, Ukranian, Spanish, Polish, European and Muslim Pogroms and Holocaust are abusing muslims or so called fakestinians. You are either a complete idiot or you drank to much islamic nazism in your breastmilk.

  • Feb 6, 2018 @ 20:33 at 20:33
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    The Chief of Staff prefers not to simply crush Israel’s enemies (what he is paid to do). He leads a leftist defeatist general staff.
    The only solution is to let them stew in their own juices. They elected and support Hamas. They’re rrsponsible for their own fate.

  • Feb 7, 2018 @ 11:51 at 11:51
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    ” humanitarian crisis in Gaza”

    Simple rule of thumb in the Middle East (and in recent years, Europe too):

    When in doubt, blame the Israelis!

  • Feb 7, 2018 @ 15:41 at 15:41
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    I demand that the Europeon countries which champion “palestinians”, turn over land in Eurabia to “palestinians” for them to build an Islamic state.

    Good places to carve out a “palestine” would be in Russia, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, Ireland.

  • Feb 7, 2018 @ 20:27 at 20:27
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    Hey, Hamas of my ass: SELL ROCKETS, BUY FOOD!

  • Feb 7, 2018 @ 23:09 at 23:09
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    Gaza not Israel’s responsibility. Run by murderous hamas…let it crumble

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