IDF Israel Gaza
Giora Eiland said there are no innocent civilians in Gaza and they are all to blame for the current crisis which has claimed at least 1900 Palestinian lives. Reuters

Gazans are to blame for the current crisis which has claimed at least 1,900 Palestinian lives, mainly civilians, according to an Israeli retired general.

Giora Eiland made the comment in an open letter, published on Israeli website Ynet News, where he also said there is no such thing as 'innocent civilians' in Gaza.

In his opinion piece, Eiland said Palestinians in Gaza, which he defined as "cruel", "are to blame for this situation just like Germany's residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so".

Speaking about Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas, Eiland said: "Hamas is not a terror organisation which came from afar and forcibly occupied Gaza. It's the authentic representative of the population there.

"The Gazans' suffering is not the result of the Israeli pressure but of their support, through their elected government, for an armed struggle.

"We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization), and in a war, the moment it begins, the right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity.

"Because we want to be compassionate towards those cruel people, we are committing to act cruelly towards the really compassionate people – the residents of the State of Israel."

Eiland went on to explain, in his letter, that Hamas and Gazan civilians are not two separate entities.

"We must avoid the artificial, wrong and dangerous distinction between the Hamas people, who are 'the bad guys', and Gaza's residents, which are allegedly 'the good guys'. We are dealing with an enemy state, not with a terror organisation which is seemingly operating from within an innocent civilian population."

The IDF declared, on Tuesday, that it will pull out its troops from Gaza and redeploy them to "defensive positions" outside the Strip.

The declaration follows Israel and Hamas' agreement to a three-day ceasefire. The previous truce, which Israel vowed to observe unilaterally on Monday, was broken six minutes after it was made when the IDF killed an eight-year-old girl in an airstrike.

IDF launched a ground invasion of Gaza on 17 July to destroy Hamas' undergorund tunnels.

The invasion was an expansion of the already existing Operation Protective Edge, started on 8 July in retaliation to the firing of more than 150 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.

According to latest reports by the Gaza Health Ministry, at least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed since the launch of Protective Edge.

The UN has warned Israel may be committing war crimes as at least 70% of the Palestinians who have been killed were civilians.