Why an Israeli Newspaper Wanted to ‘Flatten’ Beirut

Earlier this month Haaretz, Israel’s influential liberal daily, published a blood-curdling article. It openly argued for war crimes on a massive scale against the civilian population of a neighbouring Arab state.

“Should Israel Flatten Beirut to Destroy Hezbollah’s Missiles?” the article’s headline mused. It was written by Amitai Etzioni, a professor of international relations at George Washington University. He was also a member of the Palmach, a unit in one pre-state Zionist terrorist group, a forerunner of the Israeli military. He participated in the Nakba (or Catastrophe), Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians.

After criticism by the journalist Belén Fernández, Etzioni later got Haaretz to edit the online version of the story, so that it now has a slightly less aggressive headline (but not before copies of the original were made).

But the substance of the article is still the same: this esteemed professor advocates the use of a weapon that “flattens all buildings within a considerable range” on Beirut, a city of some 2 million people. “There are going to be civilian casualties,” he threatens

Etzioni seems to be dimly aware that such open advocacy for the massacre of an entire population may not go down well with many (even if it passes muster in the elite Israeli-American circles he frequents). So he covers himself with the unconvincing caveat that a fuels-based weapon causing “massive explosions” in order to “flatten” Beirut would only be used once people were given “a chance” to leave the area.

As Fernández points out though, this proviso fools few – certainly not the Lebanese, who are only too aware of Israel’s record of deliberately targeting civilian populations. “This obviously fails to account for the Israeli military habit of ordering civilians to evacuate areas and then bombing them en route,” she writes.

Such Israeli threats are not new. And they are more than just threats: this criminal state has carried them out, repeatedly.

In 2006, Israel did indeed flatten Dahiya, a large southern neighbourhood of Beirut, using massive aerial bombardment, resulting in untold civilian casualties. Two years later Major General Gadi Eizenkot, who had been head of Israel’s Northern Command at the time of that war, revealed that this was a deliberate and systematic Israeli military policy, which would be carried forward. It even had a name: the Dahiya Doctrine.

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on,” Eizenkot explained. “We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases…This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.” …


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