Friday, November 23, 2012

Ben-Gurion and Gaza

"A few days after Israel declared independence, its nascent air force bombed Gaza City. Five months later, on October 14, it did so again.
A week later, Ben-Gurion told the cabinet that Israel could take Gaza in two weeks, "and that's a big thing," but it had to accede to the United Nations demand for a cease-fire. Violating this demand, he feared, would lead to the loss of the Negev.
"Israel can live without Gaza," he told the cabinet on November 18. That was in response to Interior Minister Yitzhak Gruenbaum's complaint that Israel agreed to the lull in the south too quickly because with a little more time, Gaza would have fallen.
Had it not been for the cease-fire in the south, Ben-Gurion added, Israel wouldn't have been able to capture the Galilee. "The Galilee is worth as much as Gaza," he declared.
Nevertheless, he wanted Gaza, too. And in December 1948, he ordered one of his top generals, Yigal Allon, to take it. Until his dying day, Allon believed that had he just been given a few more days, he could have captured Gaza City."