The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence is recommending the forcible and permanent transfer of the Gaza Strip’s 2.2 million Palestinian residents to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to an official document revealed in full for the first time by +972’s partner site Local Call yesterday.
The 10-page document, dated Oct. 13, 2023, bears the logo of the Intelligence Ministry — a small governmental body that produces policy research and shares its proposals with intelligence agencies, the army, and other ministries. It assesses three options regarding the future of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the framework of the current war, and recommends a full population transfer as its preferred course of action. It also calls on Israel to enlist the international community in support of this endeavor. The document, whose authenticity was confirmed by the ministry, has been translated into English in full here on +972.
The existence of the document does not necessarily indicate that its recommendations are being considered by Israel’s defense establishment. Despite its name, the Intelligence Ministry is not directly responsible for any intelligence body, but rather independently prepares studies and policy papers that are distributed to the Israeli government and security agencies for review, but are not binding. The ministry’s annual budget is NIS 25 million and its influence is considered relatively small. It is currently headed by Gila Gamliel, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
However, the fact that an Israeli government ministry has prepared such a detailed proposal amid a large-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip, following Hamas’ deadly assault and massacres in southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, reflects how the idea of forced population transfer is being raised to the level of official policy discussions. Fears of such plans — which would constitute a serious war crime under international law — have grown in recent weeks, especially after the Israeli army ordered about 1 million Palestinians to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip ahead of escalating bombardment and incremental ground incursions.
The document recommends that Israel act to “evacuate the civilian population to Sinai” during the war; establish tent cities and later more permanent cities in the northern Sinai that will absorb the expelled population; and then create “a sterile zone of several kilometers … within Egypt, and [prevent] the return of the population to activities/residences near the border with Israel.” At the same time, governments around the world, led by the United States, must be mobilized to implement the move.
Thing is, look at a satellite pic of the area. Gaza, and a strip of Israel, to the east of Gaza, are green. as is western Jordan. My suspicion is rain, due to water picked up from the Med by a prevailing westerly wind.
Look at Sinai. It’s desert, like the Negev, like Jordan east of Amman. The Sinai is south of the Med, out of the over-water prevailing winds that bring rain.
Gaza City receives an annual rainfall of 1.78"/year. Al `Arish, on the coast, in Sinai, receives 0.3" of rain per year.
Steve…grew up in the west Michigan “lake effect belt”.
Means nothing. The Middle Easterns talk a good game on all sides. As if there are chips on the table.
It is not worth taking that literally.
If only because the Israeli government is so embarrassed for good reason at this point most Israelis have decided the entire lot of them in charge are ejits. The next election coming soon will displace most of them and their words. Most of them are considered bumblers.
Israel has quietly tried to build international support in recent weeks for the transfer of several hundred thousand civilians from Gaza to Egypt for the duration of its war in the territory, according to six senior foreign diplomats.
Israeli leaders and diplomats have privately proposed the idea to several foreign governments, framing it as a humanitarian initiative that would allow civilians to temporarily escape the perils of Gaza for refugee camps in the Sinai Desert, just across the border in neighboring Egypt.
The suggestion was dismissed by most of Israel’s interlocutors — who include the United States and Britain — because of the risk that such a mass displacement could become permanent. These countries fear that such a development might destabilize Egypt and lock significant numbers of Palestinians out of their homeland, according to the diplomats, who spoke anonymously in order to discuss a sensitive matter more freely.
The idea has also been firmly rejected by Palestinians, who fear that Israel is using the war — which began on Oct. 7 after terrorists from Gaza raided Israel and killed roughly 1,400 people — to permanently displace the more than two million people living in Gaza.
More than 700,000 Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes in what is now Israel during the war surrounding the creation of the state in 1948. Many of their descendants are now warning that the current war will end with a similar “nakba,” or catastrophe, as the 1948 migration is known in Arabic.
Days after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that oversees Gaza, the Israeli military called for all residents of northern Gaza — about half the entire population of the territory — to evacuate to southern Gaza as it prepared for a ground invasion. But Israel did not publicly suggest that Palestinians cross the Egyptian border, which has been largely sealed since the start of the war.
Egypt has rejected the idea of a temporary displacement, let alone a permanent one. A spokesman for the Egyptian government declined to comment for this article, referring instead to a speech made last month by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian president, that dismissed idea.
“Egypt has affirmed and reiterated its complete rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians and their exodus to Egyptian lands in Sinai, as this is nothing but a final liquidation of the Palestinian cause,” Mr. el-Sisi said in a speech published on his website.
Some of Mr. Netanyahu’s political allies, however, have publicly backed the idea of temporarily moving large numbers of Gazans to Egypt as well as to other countries in the region and in the West.
Danny Danon, a lawmaker from Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said he supported evacuating Gazan civilians to give Israel more room to maneuver during its ground invasion of Gaza, and to move civilians out of harm’s way.
“We’re trying to lower the level of casualties for our troops and for the civilians,” Mr. Danon said in a phone interview. “We expect not only the Egyptians, but the entire international community to make a genuine effort to support and accept the residents of Gaza.”
Mr. Danon added that the idea would need the agreement of the Egyptian government, which controls Gaza’s southern border. However, Mr. Danon is not a member of the government and could not confirm whether Israel had been pushing foreign governments to back such a plan.
Israel’s diplomatic push has added to a growing sense of uncertainty about what will happen if Israel takes control over parts or all of Gaza, even temporarily, at the end of its military operations.
A Likud lawmaker, Ariel Kallner, has called for another nakba that would “overshadow” the original mass displacement in 1948.
“Right now, one goal: Nakba!” Mr. Kallner said on Oct. 8. “Nakba in Gaza and Nakba to anyone who dares to join!” he added.
Egypt fears that the sudden immigration of Palestinians could roil northern Sinai, where the Egyptian military has struggled to contain an Islamist insurgency, or that it could lead some Palestinians to launch attacks from Sinai into Israel, which could then draw Egypt into conflict with Israel.
Palestinians in Gaza have also rejected the idea of relocating to Egypt, saying it would constitute a new nakba.
Mr. Danon said that Israel did not intend to expel Gazans from the enclave and that anyone who left would be allowed to return.
The defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said last month that Israel would not seek to maintain day-to-day control over Gaza after the invasion.
But the matter is still the subject of considerable discussion and disagreement within Israel’s government and governing coalition. Some members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition and officials in his government have expressly called for the permanent expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza.
A department within Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, which has no executive power, published a paper on Oct. 13 recommending “the evacuation of the civilian population from Gaza to Sinai.” After the document was leaked to Local Call, an Israeli news outlet, the prime minister’s office confirmed the authenticity of the document — but said it was just a “preliminary paper.”
A far-right government minister, Amichay Eliyahu, said on Wednesday that Gazan land should be given to former Israeli soldiers who fought in Gaza — or to former Israeli settlers who lived in the enclave before Israel withdrew from it in 2005. Then, on Sunday, Mr. Eliyahu said that Israel should consider dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, an idea that drew condemnation from Mr. Netanyahu and other members of the government.
Video has also emerged of an Israeli military officer recently calling for Israel to reoccupy Gaza, as well as a separate video that shows a pop singer calling for the reoccupation of Gaza, prompting the approval of an audience of soldiers. In response, the Israeli military condemned the officer and said it was looking into the incident with the pop singer.
The report in the OP is from, essentially, a think tank.
Recall the PNAC plan, of the late 90s, another think tank project. It called for USian military dominance of the world. The report said implementation of the plan would require the population to be whipped into line by a “Pearl Harbor” scale event. 9/11 provided that event, and was leveraged into military interventions.
The Israeli think tank product could easily become official government policy, as it did in the US.
And I dug up a piece on the USian 2020 “peace proposal”, that pretty much threw the Pals under the bus.