28.11.2023 Author: Viktor Mikhin

The Gaza war and the revelations of Israel’s former chief of general staff

Recently, an audio recording of a confidential meeting surfaced in the world’s media, revealing the inner workings of the Israeli command and completely lifting all the secrecy that had previously surrounded the military and its political affairs. Key figures, including Aviv Kohavi, Israel’s former Chief of General Staff, attended this high-level meeting that shed light on military operations and strategic discussions.

Aviv Kohavi is an influential figure in the Israeli military. His role as the architect of the Tnufa plan, aimed at countering specific threats from Iran, underscores the military’s focus on improving equipment and weaponry. The so-called Tnufa plan called for large-scale purchases of new missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, armoured vehicles, air defence batteries, helicopters and ships, along with upgrades to existing Israeli equipment. All this was to be done to deter threats from Iran and the so-called Axis of Resistance comprising Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Upon leaving office and stepping down as chief of general staff, Kohavi told his successor that he had nearly completed all aspects of his Tnufa plan. However, the leaked recording casts a shadow over Kohavi’s previous statements about the success of Operation Tnufa, which was originally planned for 2025, with subsequent Israeli failures revealing the shortcomings and failures of the military campaign. Kohavi only recently retired from active service, but the Hamas combat operation on 7 October showed that all his predictions and calculations were wrong from the start.

It is important to note that once the current war is over and Israel can realise what has happened to it, Kohavi is expected to be questioned about the time he served as chief of general staff from 2019 to January 2023. Many Israelis consider Kohavi’s leadership and lack of realistic views to be one of the important factors that led to Israel’s colossal defeat in October. The deposed general seems worried about his future, so he is putting forward proposals that have little chance of success on the battlefield.

Among the revelations in the audio recording, Kohavi acknowledges the resilience of the Palestinian resistance, emphasising the cultural determination to resist the occupation. As other experts have observed, even in the face of Hamas’ annihilation, as long as Palestinians do not surrender to the evil will of the occupiers, Israeli forces cannot claim victory. In such an environment, other groups and movements can replace the organisation that will protect the Palestinians from Israel’s arbitrary rule. Even if Israel’s wish to destroy Hamas comes true, the group will be replaced by another resistance group as soon as possible.

Another point Kohavi mentions is that it shows how Israel can make up bogus targets in an attempt to continue its illegal campaign to destroy Gaza and its civilians. The former top commander likes to use the term “manufacturing new targets” to camouflage Israel’s actions. This is a tactic that allows Israel to bomb hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, apartment blocks and refugee camps throughout Gaza without drawing criticism from Western nations. The Israeli regime has used this tactic by aiding and advising other Western politicians and its former allies in the region. For example, in Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, the Israelis helped the Saudis prolong the war by planting false targets and fabrications every day. This strategy was also an important part of the aforementioned Tnufa plan. The statements made by Kohavi in the audio file can even be used as evidence against Israeli politicians and military officials in international courts.

Moreover, Kohavi emphasised the importance of dispersing Israeli forces throughout Gaza in order to gain control of the territory, expel the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants from there and incorporate the entire Strip into Israel. This shows that Tel Aviv has not changed its occupation policy in the face of the Palestinian people’s uprisings.

Kohavi also emphasised the important task of securing the support of the world community, which he noted is “led” by the United States. The statement is worded in a way that shows that Israel’s attitude even towards its supporters and friends is rather arrogant, ignoring the interests of other countries. But what the retired general does not take into account is that a prolonged war against Gaza will ultimately be to the detriment of Western nations that do not want to risk a wider conflict. Moreover, the United States is by no means the leader of the world community and a new global multipolar community is already forming at a rapid pace. The world powers openly dispute this view and reject American claims to rule over the shards of the old world, and this, incidentally, demonstrates Israel’s fundamental failure to recognise the current situation both domestically and globally.

In addition to his comments, the former general characterises the current situation in the occupied territories as a “chronic disease”, expressing concern about the potential exodus of Israelis due to deteriorating living conditions. The 7 October Hamas operation further undermined the fragile sense of security for those living in the occupied areas, leading to more than 230,000 residents reportedly leaving the country by early November. Israelis can no longer live around Gaza and Lebanon, and as Kohavi himself mentions, even if people decide to stay in other parts of the occupied territories, the northern and southern parts of occupied Palestine are likely to remain deserted.

In fact, this leaked audio recording serves as evidence of the breakdown of Israel’s domestic strategy counselling system. It exposes years of controversial military action, revealing the extent of hypocrisy and inadequacy in managing the conflict with the Palestinians. It also documents years of malicious Israeli behaviour to oppress the people of Gaza, strike civilian targets and massacre women and children.

In this regard, we should probably agree with the opinion of another General Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who said, “What happened during Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” was a response to a century of crimes and injustice against the Palestinian people”, explaining that the Palestinians were forced to live on their own lands as refugees. He said the British government created all this suffering in the first place. “The British seized the land of Palestine from the Palestinian people and handed it over to the Zionists, and after that, incidents such as killings and massacres of the oppressed people of Palestine took place”. The general noted that along with Israel, Western countries are also responsible for the death of every Palestinian killed by the regime. He added that despite everything they went through, the Palestinians never crossed the line and agreed to submit to tyrants. “There was strong resistance and martyrdom became part of the life of the Palestinian people”.

As Israel faces setbacks and struggles to control the situation, the world community’s unwillingness to provide unwavering support may signal the impending defeat of the Israeli regime. More and more nations around the world are severing diplomatic relations with Israel, which has been mercilessly criticised in almost every global media outlet. The Arab neighbours, which only recently had somehow managed to resolve their relations with Tel Aviv, have now completely broken with it and are quite determined to collectively fight back against the carnage in the Gaza Strip.


Victor MIKHIN, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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