Source >> Gilbert Achcar blog
A document leaked in recent days has fully confirmed what we have been warning of since October 7, which is that the Zionist right 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, so as to complete the 1948 Nakba and achieve their “Greater Israel” project. Last Saturday (28/10), the Israeli opposition website “Mecomit” (Local Call) published an important document issued by the Zionist Ministry of Intelligence, headed by Gila Gamliel, a prominent member of the Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The document’s authenticity was later confirmed by a few Israeli media outlets, including Haaretz on Monday (30/10), and it was translated into English by the +972 website, which is critical of Israel.
The document dated October 13 is entitled “Options for a policy regarding Gaza’s civilian population.” The three options envisaged are: (a) The residents of Gaza remain in the Strip and are governed by the Palestinian Authority; (b) The population of Gaza remain in the Strip and a local Arab authority is established there; (c) The civilian population is evacuated from Gaza to Sinai. The document considers that options (a) and (b) suffer from significant deficiencies, especially in that neither of them can provide a sufficient “deterrent effect” in the long term. As for option (c), the document asserts that it “will yield positive, long-term strategic outcomes for Israel,” and it is “executable.” “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 endeavor.”
The document then goes on to detail each of the three options. We will limit ourselves here to the third option favored 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 buffer zone of several kilometers 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.”
The document then details the displacement scenario, which begins with a call for the evacuation of non-combatants from the combat zone, and the implementation of focused air strikes on northern Gaza to make way for a ground invasion. In a second phase, the invasion begins from the north and along the border until the entire Gaza Strip is occupied and Hamas tunnels are eliminated. Throughout this time, “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 global context of large-scale displacement as 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, in return for its cooperation, will receive financial assistance to alleviate its current economic crisis.
It is noteworthy that the document of the Zionist Ministry of Intelligence was issued at the time when Israel started calling on the residents of northern Gaza to immigrate to the south of the Wadi Gaza River on October 13, a confirmation that this call conformed with option (C). As a matter of fact, everything Israel has done so far is completely consistent with the plan for a repetition of the Nakba in Gaza, as described in the document. The Financial Times published a report on Monday (30/10) by its correspondents in European capitals stating that Netanyahu sought to persuade European governments to pressure Cairo in order to convince Egypt to take in refugees coming from Gaza. Paris, Berlin, and London all expressed their conviction that this demand is unrealistic, but they nevertheless started putting pressure on Cairo to open the doors of Egypt, citing humanitarian considerations. It appears from the report that there is a belief in some European circles that the sheer size of displacement to the Egyptian border, increasing with the progress of ground military operations, would exacerbate the concentration of people on the border to a point that, in conjunction with Western pressure, may force Egypt to change its position. The displacement planners must also certainly hope that the crowd of displaced people on the southern Gaza border will manage to storm into Egyptian territory to escape Israel’s bombing and military advance, thus forcing themselves upon the Egyptian authorities who will not be able to fire on Gazan civilians.
Meanwhile, settlers in the West Bank, for their part, have begun seizing the opportunity of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” to escalate the pressure on the Palestinians living in Area “C” (which includes the largest portion of the West Bank’s lands – more than 60 percent) calling on them to migrate, not to the area supervised by the “Palestinian Authority” but to Jordan! This clearly indicates the Zionist right’s intention to complete the Nakba throughout the West Bank as well, as soon as the opportunity arises in their view.
Translated from the Arabic original published in Al-Quds al-Arabi on 31 October 2023.
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