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Exposing the plan to complete the Nakba

November 2, 2023 at 10:09 am

Palestinians march with banners on the 75th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, which Palestinians call the Great Catastrophe (Nakba), and its forced migration of Palestinians in Ramallah, West Bank on May 15, 2023 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Something has been recently revealed that fully confirms what we have been warning about since 7 October, which is that the Zionist right-wing will seize the opportunity of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood to try to implement its old dream of displacing most of the Palestinian population from the territories occupied in 1967, thus completing the 1948 Nakba and achieving the “Greater Israel” project. Last Saturday, the Israeli opposition website, Mekomit, published a dangerous document issued by the Zionist Ministry of Intelligence, led by Gila Gamliel, a prominent member of the Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The truth of the document was later confirmed by some Israeli media outlets, including Haaretz newspaper on Monday, and it was also translated into English by the +972 website, which is an opposition website.

This document was issued on 13 October and entitled “Options for a policy regarding Gaza’s civilian population”. The three options mentioned are: (a) The residents of Gaza remain in the Gaza Strip and are governed by the Palestinian Authority; (b) The population of Gaza will remain in the Strip and a local Arab authority will be established there; (c) Evacuation of the civilian population from Gaza to Sinai. The document considers that options (a) and (b) suffer from significant deficiencies because neither of them will provide the necessary deterrent effect in the long run. However, according to the document, option (c) “will yield positive, long-term strategic outcomes for Israel, and is an executable option. It requires determination from the political echelon in the face of international pressure, with an emphasis on harnessing the support of the United States and additional pro-Israeli countries for the endeavour.”

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The document then goes on to detail each of the three options. Here, we will limit ourselves to the third option favoured by the Ministry, which is the option of evacuating the civilian population from Gaza. The document describes the scenario as follows: “1. Due to the fighting against Hamas, there is a need to evacuate the non-combatant population from the combat area. 2. Israel should act to evacuate the civilian population to Sinai. 3. In the first stage, tent cities will be established in the area of Sinai, the next stage includes the establishment of a humanitarian zone to assist the civilian population of Gaza and the construction of cities in a resettled area in northern Sinai. 4. A sterile zone of several kilometres should be created within Egypt, and the return of the population to activities/residences near the border with Israel should not be allowed. In addition, a security perimeter should be established in our territory near the border with Egypt.”

According to the document’s displacement scenario, it begins with a “call for the evacuation of the non-combatant population from the combat zone of the Hamas attack,” followed by “operations from the air with a focus on the north of Gaza to allow a ground invasion in an area that is already evacuated and does not require fighting in a densely populated civilian area. In the second stage, a gradual ground invasion of the territory in the north and along the border until the occupation of the entire Strip and cleansing of the underground bunkers of Hamas fighters. The ground invasion stage will be less time-consuming compared to options A and B, and therefore will reduce the exposure time to opening the northern front simultaneously with the fighting in Gaza. It is important to leave the travel routes to the south open to enable the evacuation of the civilian population toward Rafah.” The document claims that this option would save civilian lives compared to the other two options, and that it falls within a context of large-scale displacement, as happened in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine. It believes that it is Egypt’s duty under international law to make way for the passage of the civilian population, and that Cairo will receive, in return for its cooperation, financial assistance in addressing its current economic crisis.

Remember the Nakba, 74 years on - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Remember the Nakba – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

It is worth noting that the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence document was issued simultaneously with Israel’s call on the residents of northern Gaza to immigrate to the south of the Wadi Gaza River on 13 October, which confirms that this call was part of the option (c) plan. The fact is that everything Israel has done, so far, is completely consistent with the plan for a repeat of the Nakba in Gaza, as described in the document. The Financial Times newspaper published a report issued on Monday by its correspondents in European capitals stating that Netanyahu sought to persuade European governments to pressure Egypt to convince it to receive refugees coming from Gaza. However, Paris, Berlin and London all expressed their conviction that this demand is unrealistic but, nevertheless, they began to put pressure on Cairo to open Egypt’s doors, citing humanitarian considerations. It appears from the report that there is a belief in some European circles that the density of displacement to the Egyptian border with the advancement of ground military operations would exacerbate the human crowds on the border, which may force Egypt, along with Western pressure, to change its position. The planners of this displacement definitely hope that the crowding of displaced people on the southern Gaza border will lead them to storm Egyptian territory to escape the Israeli bombing and military advancement, in spite of Egyptian authorities’ wishes, and they will not be able to open fire on Gazan civilians.

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Meanwhile, settlers in the West Bank began take advantage of the situation with the Al-Aqsa Flood and are ramping up the pressure on the Palestinians living in Area “C” (which includes the largest portion of the West Bank’s lands, more than 60 per cent) to push them to migrate, not to the areas that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority, but to Jordan!

This clearly implies the intention of the Zionist right wing to complete the Nakba throughout the West Bank as soon as the opportunity arises, as they see it.

This article appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 1 November, 2023

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.