A secret document has been published which reveals that Israel was guilty of collective punishment against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip a few days after the end of the 1967 war.
According to Haaretz, the document records that the Israeli military governor of Gaza ordered the expulsion of 110 Palestinians to Sinai and the demolition of eight homes as collective punishment in retaliation for an attempted attack against Israeli troops. The document, says the newspaper, was prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on 15 June, 1967, days after the end of the war.
Jewish sources date the incident to June 12 or 13, when a landmine exploded in the Gaza area and tracks led from the scene to several houses in the Tarabsheh refugee camp. "At the time, 110 people said that they were soldiers in the Palestinian Liberation Army and claimed responsibility for the attack en masse," explained Haaretz. "As punishment, it was decided to take them to Sinai and leave them there and to demolish eight houses in the camp."
Fayez Abu Shamala is an expert on Israeli affairs. He insists that tens of thousands of Palestinians were deported after the 1967 war and not just a few, as the Israeli document claims. Speaking to Quds Press on Thursday, Abu Shamala said that the Israeli occupation authorities tried to empty the Gaza Strip of its Palestinian inhabitants after the 1967 war and force them to move to Jordan and Egypt.
"The occupation forces imposed a curfew on all areas of the Gaza Strip and summoned the population aged 15-60 years," he said. "Later, they gathered young people from the age of 17-20 years, and threw them west of the Suez Canal." Local families, he pointed out, did not know the fate of their children. "A month later, however, the International Committee of the Red Cross informed them that they are were in the Bilbes area, west of the Suez Canal, and that the Egyptians had provided them with tents to live in."
Abu Shamala said that the Israelis opened the borders with Egypt and Jordan to empty the Gaza Strip of its inhabitants. The aim of the document published now, he alleged, is to "simplify what happened after the 1967 war by claiming that only 110 Palestinians were deported." Although some of the Palestinians sent to Egypt were able to return to Gaza, many more remained in exile and died there.
An earlier, related, article published by Professor David Kretschmer and Gershom Gorenberg has given details of an incident in Rafah in 1972, in which thousands of Bedouins were expelled from the northern and eastern region of Sinai, which was occupied by Israel at the time.