Creating new perspectives since 2009

Prospect of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza to Sinai ‘grows’

December 27, 2023 at 4:33 pm

A general view shows Palestinian residents start to live in their makeshift tents after leaving their homes in Bureij Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, central Gaza on December 27, 2023 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

A recent opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post has sparked concerns and criticism over its proposal to relocate Palestinians from Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula. The article suggests that the Sinai Peninsula could offer a solution for the people of Gaza, citing its geographical characteristics and infrastructure.

The plan is not new. In October a document compiled by Israeli intelligence was discovered containing a proposal to displace the residents of the Gaza Strip to Sinai after Hamas is toppled in the enclave.

Critics argue that the proposed plan raises serious ethical and humanitarian issues, labelling it as a plan rooted in the racist and supremacist ideology. The article suggests a large-scale resettlement of Gazans to the Sinai, a move that has been criticised for its potential disregard for the rights, wishes and autonomy of the Palestinian population.

Read: Sinai as an alternative to Gaza: Who is funding this? Who is passing the deal?

The article points to the challenges in Gaza, including damage from Israel’s genocidal campaign in the besieged enclave and the need for extensive rebuilding efforts. It suggests that the unique humanitarian challenge of constructing a better future for the people of Gaza could be addressed by relocating them to the Sinai Peninsula.

The article has been widely condemned.

“The Jerusalem Post, edited by  @AviMayer, is openly advocating for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza. This is where we are now,” said MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan while sharing the article.

Others also slammed the piece for advocating ethnic cleansing.

The expulsion of one population to another territory simply because they are of a different race or culture has long been the practice of political ideologies founded on racism. German fascism for example had a long-term plan to expel Jews from Germany before the Holocaust unfolded.

The Nazis also implemented various anti-Jewish policies from the early years of their rule, and these measures escalated over time to the killing of six million Jews. The culmination of this policy was the “Final Solution”, which aimed at the systematic extermination of the Jewish people during World War II.

The initial measures included the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which deprived Jews of German citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with non-Jews. Subsequently, the regime implemented policies such as the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, during which Jewish-owned businesses, homes, and synagogues were vandalised and destroyed. Thousands of Jews were arrested and many were killed or sent to concentration camps.

The Madagascar Plan, proposed in the late 1930s, was another early idea for the expulsion of Jews. The plan involved deporting the Jewish population to the island of Madagascar, but it was never implemented due to various logistical and geopolitical reasons.

As the war progressed, especially after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the Nazi leadership shifted from expulsion to the systematic mass murder of Jews. This transition marked the beginning of the Holocaust, with extermination camps such as Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Treblinka playing a central role in the genocide.

With support for the two-state solution almost non-existent in Israel, the occupation state has run out of options to deal with what it calls “the Gaza problem”. A sovereign, viable Palestinian state was widely seen as Israel’s way out of apartheid.

With all paths to a two-state solution closed, the looming possibility of mass deportations and other graver crimes against humanity “grows”, according to Senior Humanitarian Law and Policy Consultant, Itay Epshtain. “This alarming prospect follows recent media reports and explicit statements by Israeli officials endorsing such deportation without reasonable justification, proper accommodation in places of refuge, or guarantees of return to homes once hostilities end,” said Epshtain on X.