Retired NATO Colonel Claims Israel Aims to Eliminate Palestinians

The IDF’s “brute force” strategy makes no sense from a counterinsurgency perspective, Col. Jacques Baud has claimed

Israel’s tactics in Gaza go against all the rules of counterinsurgency and can only be explained as a deliberate effort to “eliminate the Palestinians,” former NATO analyst and Swiss intelligence officer Col. Jacques Baud has said.

Speaking to ‘Going Underground’ host Afshin Rattansi on Monday, Baud said that Israel is “not trying to solve the problem [of Hamas violence] on the political side, as we normally should for a counterinsurgency.”

“They are doing it by brute force, meaning that they destroy people and that’s the name of the game,” he added.

In nearly nine months of warfare against Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has killed almost 38,000 people in Gaza, the majority of them women and children, according to the latest figures from the territory’s health ministry. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel will continue its campaign until it achieves “total victory” over the Palestinian militants, but has been more evasive when asked about his post-war plans for Gaza. He has said that Israel will maintain “full security control” over Gaza, but has refused to back his more moderate allies’ calls for a in the enclave.

“The only explanation” for Israel’s refusal to entertain a political solution is not that “the Israelis are stupid and don’t know how to wage war,” Baud continued. “[It’s that] they’re doing this on purpose to eliminate the Palestinians.”

“Palestine will be exclusively Jewish, and that has always been the consistent policy,” he told Rattansi. “They don’t dare do it in one shot. They are doing it in brutal sequences. The ultimate goal is to empty Palestine of Palestinians.”

While Netanyahu has never called for the wholesale depopulation of Gaza, several prominent figures within his government have. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir have both called for a tenfold in Gaza’s population, while a policy compiled by Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence last year recommended that the enclave’s 2.3 million residents be driven into Egypt or sent to the West as refugees.

“They already have projects to rebuild,” Baud said, adding that “the idea is to completely empty Gaza and then to rebuild the kind of colony [Israel] had until 2005,” when Israeli forces withdrew from the territory.

Regardless of who oversees the reconstruction of Gaza, the UN Development Program has estimated that the cost of restoring the enclave to its pre-war condition will cost at least $40 billion and take 16 years.

Watch Baud’s full interview with Rattansi to hear his opinion on the parallels between Israel’s war effort and NATO’s strategy in Ukraine, and his view on the West’s involvement in both crises.