Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, has called for Israel to 'flatten' Gaza as the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.
Writing in The Jerusalem Post Sharon, an activist for the opposition Kadima party, said: “The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.
"We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
"There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire."
Mr Sharon, who is also a major in Israel's reserve forces, continued: "The images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.
"Either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper."
He added: "If the government isn't prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighbourhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired."
Sharon's remarks triggered a storm of hostile comments on Twitter with some questioning why the newspaper published the opinion piece.
At the weekend Eli Yishai, Israel's deputy prime minister, declared: "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years."
During the last major Israeli assault on Gaza in 2009 Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, also drew comparisons between Gaza and Japan. The minister said Israel "must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II. Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary".
Gilad Sharon has called on Israel to bomb Gaza to oblivion. I'm semi-surprised the Jerusalem Post published such dreck.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) November 18, 2012
Worth pointing out: Gilad Sharon holds no office or political position in Israel. Adds to shock that Jerusalem Post shd publish such views— Jonathan Freedland (@j_freedland) November 18, 2012