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Israel-Palestine war: Israeli officials advocate mass displacement and war on all Gaza civilians

In two separate articles, politicians promote the idea of ethnic cleansing and suggest a plan to show the world that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza
Palestinians fleeing the fighting in war-torn Gaza walk on Salaheddine road in the Zeitoun district of the southern part of the Gaza Strip on November 19, 2023 (AFP)
Palestinians fleeing the fighting in war-torn Gaza walk on Salaheddine road in the Zeitoun district of the southern part of the Gaza Strip on 19 November 2023 (AFP)

The international community should promote the “voluntary resettlement” of Palestinians in Gaza to sites around the globe, Israel’s minister of intelligence, Gila Gamliel, said on Sunday.

In an article for the Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, Gamliel argues that one “option” after the war on Gaza would be “to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip".

“Instead of funnelling money to rebuild Gaza or to the failed UNRWA [United Nations agency for Palestine refugees], the international community can assist in the costs of resettlement, helping the people of Gaza build new lives in their new host countries,” added Gamliel.

“Gaza has long been thought of as a problem without an answer,” Gamliel writes. “We must try something new, and we call on the international community to help make it a reality.

“It could be a win-win solution: a win for those civilians of Gaza who seek a better life and a win for Israel after this devastating tragedy,” she added.

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Various Israeli officials and prominent figures have talked up the idea of ridding Gaza of the 2.3 million Palestinians there, provoking Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II to warn against such plans.

Such plans would amount to ethnically cleansing the occupied territory, according to UN experts.

Last month the Israeli daily Calcalist reported on one proposal drawn up by Gamliel’s ministry, where she recommended to the cabinet the transfer of Gaza residents to the Sinai in Egypt after the war.

'Severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer and reduce casualties among IDF soldiers'

- Retired Major General Giora Eiland, advisor to Israeli defence minister

The document seen by Calcalist reportedly includes the intelligence ministry's logo and was passed around ministries for consultation.

Gamliel’s report says the best possible outcome following Israel’s war "that will yield positive and long-term strategic results" is the transfer of Gaza's Palestinians to the Sinai Peninsula.

The move would be in three stages. The establishment of tent cities in Sinai southwest of the Gaza Strip, establishing a so-called humanitarian corridor through which Palestinians would be allowed to flee, followed by the construction of cities in northern Sinai.

Finally, Israel would then establish a no-man's land several kilometres deep within Egyptian territory to ensure that Palestinians would not be able to return.

The paper, which has been widely condemned, also calls for cooperation between Israel, Arab and European countries to also take in displaced Palestinians.

'Israel is fighting the whole of Gaza'

Separately, an advisor to the Israeli government, retired major general Giora Eiland, writing for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot, compared Gaza and its residents to "Nazi Germany".

In an article on Sunday, Eiland, who is a special advisor to the country’s defence minister, Yoav Galant, said that Israel should fight the international narrative that seeks to differentiate between Hamas and Palestinians civilians in Gaza.

The “more correct narrative,” said Eiland, is that “Israel is not fighting against a terrorist organisation but against the state of Gaza.

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“The state of Gaza is indeed led by Hamas, and this organisation managed to mobilise all the resources of its state, the support of the majority of its residents and the absolute loyalty of the civil administration around Sinwar's leadership, while fully supporting his ideology,” added Eiland.

“In this sense, Gaza is very similar to Nazi Germany,” he said adding that “Israel must therefore not provide the other side with any capability that prolongs its breathing.”

The former general argued that stopping fuel and food supplies was necessary to ensure the total capitulation of Gaza.

“The way to win the war faster and at a lower cost for us requires the collapse of systems on the other side and not just the killing of more Hamas fighters,” said Eiland.

Israel should resist international pressure which is warning of an impending humanitarian disaster in Gaza, said the retired general.

“We must not shy away from this, with all the difficulty involved. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer and reduce casualties among IDF soldiers,” he added.

“We believe that humanitarian pressure is also a legitimate means” of conducting warfare, said Eiland, adding that the war was not just against Hamas but also “all the ‘civilian’ officials, including hospital directors and school directors, and also the entire Gaza population.”

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