According to established Israeli military policy every Gazan is a target — and that’s not an accident.

When the Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus was asked whether the assault on Gaza's population would intensify, his response was telling.

"I don't think my commanders are aware or particularly interested [in a ceasefire]," he said in response to a question put to him.

That's bad news for Palestinian civilians. The central premise of Israel's military policy in the occupied Palestinian territories is "deterrence."

Nothing exemplifies that more than what has come to be known as the "Dahiya Doctrine." 

The military strategy gets its name after Israel indiscriminately attacked military and civilian infrastructure in a neighbourhood of Beirut in 2006 following its war with Hezbollah.

The policy was first mentioned by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a think-tank with close ties to the Israeli political and military establishment. INSS published it in a policy paper "Disproportionate Force: Israel's Concept of Response in Light of the Second Lebanon War."

The policy stresses that in a conflict with Hamas, the Israeli army should use "force that is disproportionate to the enemy's actions and the threat it poses."

Israeli actions in Gaza now strongly indicate that the policy, which would fly in the face of international law, is currently being pursued with gusto by Israeli forces.

Israeli warplanes have completely destroyed several civilian tower blocks in Gaza, and continuing airstrikes have left more than 100 Palestinians dead, including 17 children. 

That's not an accident but a feature of Israel's strategy, which aims to instil fear in civilians who stand up to the Zionist state.

Israel will have to "respond disproportionately in order to make it abundantly clear that the State of Israel will accept no attempt to disrupt the calm currently prevailing along its borders", added the INSS think tank.

A senior Israeli General, Gadi Eisenkot, speaking to the Israeli press in 2008, said that the Dahiya Doctrine "isn't a suggestion" but a "plan that has already been authorised."

In 2006 Israel's then army chief General Dan Halutz boasted that the military would target civilian infrastructure in Lebanon with the aim to "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years."

Israel implanted such a policy during its attack on Gaza in 2008-2009, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.

The United Nations commissioned a fact-finding mission known as the Goldstone Report, which concluded  that the Israeli strategy was "designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population."

The international law professor Richard Falk has described Israel's Dahiya Doctrine "not only an overt violation of the most elementary norms of the law of war and of universal morality, but an avowal of a doctrine of violence that needs to be called by its proper name: state terrorism."

As Israeli bombardment in Gaza continues and civilian deaths mount, Tel Aviv will suggest that civilian deaths are a result of Hamas using human shields. Established Israeli military practice suggests otherwise.

Source: TRT World