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For weeks, Israeli generals and journalists have been debating how Israel should proceed in Gaza, especially on the “day after.” Does Israel conduct a ground invasion and fight to eliminate Hamas completely? If it does, who will rule? Who takes Hamas’ place? Does Israel reoccupy Gaza?
The Israeli security think tank, Misgav (the Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy or INSZL) is funded by the far-right Kohelet Forum. Its director is Meir Ben Shabbat, a former national security advisor and 25 year veteran of the Shin Bet. Misgav has answered the question. Its proposes an Israeli form of the Final Solution of the the “Gaza Problem”: expulsion. The think tank produced a paper, written by Ari Vaitman entitled, A plan for resettlement and final rehabilitation in Egypt of the entire population of Gaza: economic aspects. The full paper (pdf in Hebrew) is here.
Lest anyone think this is a delusional, even genocidal proposal, remember it was the Kohelet Forum that produced papers like this one, which are now government policy and being implemented by law; papers which argued for destroying the Israeli judiciary, and consolidating power in the hands of the far-right fascist ministers. Its proposals are being enacted–against the will of much of Israel.
On a subject like Gaza, which Israelis see as Trump’s equivalent of a “shithole country,” Misgav could convince Israelis much more easily of the propriety of its plans.
Nakba 2.0: the plan
Here is an English translation of the Hebrew tweet below:
There is currently a unique and rare opportunity to evacuate [sic] the entire Gaza Strip in coordination with the Egyptian government. An immediate, realistic and sustainable plan for the resettlement and humanitarian rehabilitation of the entire Arab population in the Gaza Strip is required which aligns well with the economic and geopolitical interests of Israel, Egypt, the USA and Saudi Arabia.
• In 2017, it was reported that there are about 10 million vacant housing units in Egypt, of which about half are built and half are under construction. For example, in the two largest satellite cities of Cairo…there is a huge amount of built and empty apartments owned by the government and private parties, and construction areas sufficient to house about 6 million inhabitants.
• The average cost of a 3-room apartment with an area of 95 square meters for an average Gazan family consisting of 5.14 people in one of the two cities indicated above is about $19,000. Taking into account the currently known size of the entire population living in the Gaza Strip, which ranges from about 1.4 For approximately 2.2 million people, one can estimate that the total amount required and to be transferred to Egypt to finance the project, will be on the order of $5-8 billion.
• Injecting an immediate stimulus of such size into the Egyptian economy would provide a tremendous and immediate benefit to al-Sisi’s regime. These sums, in relation to the Israeli economy, are minimal. Investing a few billion dollars (even if it is $20- or $30-billion) to solve this difficult issue is an innovative, cheap and sustainable solution.
• There is no doubt that in order for this plan to be realized, many conditions must exist concurrently. Currently, these conditions are optimal, and it is unclear when another such an opportunity will arise, if ever.
נייר עמדה: תכנית ליישוב מחדש ושיקום סופי במצרים של כל אוכלוסיית עזה: היבטים כלכליים
מאת אמיר וייטמן
• קיימת כרגע הזדמנות חד פעמית ונדירה לפנות את כלל רצועת עזה בתיאום עם ממשלת מצרים. נדרשת תכנית מיידית, ריאלית וברת-קיימא ליישוב מחדש ושיקום הומניטאריים של כלל… pic.twitter.com/3tAM7IblGE
— מכון משגב לביטחון לאומי ולאסטרטגיה ציונית (@MisgavINS) October 17, 2023
Israel’s fascist ministers and MKs have boasted about Nakba 2.0 in recent speeches. This is Nakba on steroids. It doesn’t matter if this plan is never enacted (though it very well might). The main goal is to inject these ideas like a toxin into the body politic. To normalize ethnic cleansing in Israel discourse. That isn’t a difficult proposition at all, given that every Israeli poll asking about views on “transfer” (i.e. expulsion) of the Palestinian population, finds up to 40% of Israeli Jews agree. So there is already a built-in constituency for it.
One glaring weakness of the plan is how it would be carried out. There is no mention of voluntary transfer. Presumably, Gazans would have no choice but to leave. How would you force 1.5-million people to abandon their homes and move to a foreign country? Put them on cattle cars?
The difference between the polls mentioned above and this plan is that the former ask the respondents a general question, without asking for concrete means of carrying it out. So Israelis answer a theoretical question, not a practical one.
This plan, on the other hand, offers a clear roadmap how to carry out full-scale ethnic cleansing. That is something new. Chekhov is reputed to have said that if there is a gun on stage in the first act, it will be fired by the third. This is the first act of Gaza ethnic cleansing.
The second stage would be doing the same to the Palestinian population on the West Bank, Again, this is not a theoretical issue. It is a very concrete one. During the Gaza War, settlers have taken advantage of the world’s attention being focused elsewhere to forcibly expel nearly 1,000 Gazans living in 12 small villages. They did so by destroying livestock, olive trees and even murdering residents. All with total impunity. In fact, with the protection of the IDF. Imagine Judeo-terrorists with guns need the added protection of the IDF to carry out their pogroms! Once they succeed in depopulating the smaller villages they will move on to the larger ones. Finally, there will be inexorable momentum to expel all West Bank Palestinians.
The settler ministers, Ben Gvir and Smotrich, readily and enthusiastically endorse these acts of Judeo-terror. They would certainly endorse full-scale ethnic cleansing of the entire population of 2.5-million Palestinians. Where would they go? Where hundreds of thousands of expellees went after the 1967 War: to Jordan.
Egypt and Jordan: no way!
Imagine what King Abdullah, whose country is already 50% Palestinian, thinks about absorbing that many immigrants. The kingdom’s population is 11-million. Adding that many people means a 25% population increase. It would tax the resources and infrastructure, not to mention foment a huge amount of social unrest, including resentment of the newcomers.
Conditions in Egypt render the think tank plan moot. The country faces enormous social and political strains. There is an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai which threatens security forces. It is also one of the most corrupt governments on earth. All those billions likely won’t build a single house. Rather they will line the pockets of al-Sisi and his cronies.
The plan is daft. The product of a way of thinking that treats human beings as livestock to be herded out of one corral and into another. Palestinians are a “problem.” A problem needs a solution.
They pose an ongoing threat to a Judeo-supremacist state envisioned by the Kohelet Forum and its fascist cultists. The easiest and best answer is simply to get rid of them, finally. A neat and simple and final solution.
It does present at least one problem: it is genocide. The forced removal of an entire population from its homes is not only a violation of international law (which Israel ignores) but genocide. The world can countenance virtually any Israeli atrocity. But this may be on too many. The world may, and should step in and stop this. Then, it may be time for implementation of BDS, an international boycott.
While the paper itself presents a delusional plan shot through with presumption and implausible assumptions, it must not be dismissed as the product of the fevered mind of the right-wing mad scientist. Frankenstein rules the kingdom.