Sharon understood that pacifying Gaza would require heavy armored vehicles, since Gaza's crowded neighborhoods and alleyways weaving through its destitute refugee camps were not suited for heavy machinery. So he bulldozed homes, thousands of them, to pave the way so tanks and yet more bulldozers could move in and topple more homes.
Modest estimates put the number of houses destroyed in August 1970 alone at 2,000. Over 16,000 Palestinians were made homeless, with thousands forced to relocate from one refugee camp into another.
The Beach Refugee Camp near Gaza City sustained most of the damage, with many fleeing for their lives and taking refuge in mosques and UN schools and tents. Sharon's declared objective was targeting "terrorist infrastructure." What he in fact meant to do was target the very population that resisted and aided the resistance.
It is the same "terrorist infrastructure" that Sharon's follower, Benjamin Netanyahu, is seeking to destroy by using the same tactics of collective punishment, and applying the same language and media talking points.
In Gaza, the past and the present are intertwined. Israel is united by the same purpose: crushing anyone who dares to resist. Palestinians in Gaza are also united with a common threat: their resistance, which, despite impossible odds seems likely to intensify.