Friday, February 2, 2024

Settlements for Security - Israel's Solution to the Gaza Problem

There has been a great deal of discussion about what happens to Gaza once Israel decides to end its punishment of Hamas.  Recent developments have provided the world with a pretty clear picture of the future that some Israelis believe should take place in a post-Palestinian Gaza.


Here is a recent article from the Times of Israel:


While the Settlements for Security conference received relatively little coverage in the Western media, it was significant because it was attended by 12 Israeli Cabinet Ministers including several from Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party and 15 Members of the Knesset including Religious Zionism leader Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Otzma Yehudit leader National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and Likud ministers Miki Zohar, Haim Katz, Idit Silman, May Golan, Shlomo Karhi and Amichai Chikli.  The entire Otzma Yehudit Knesset faction was also present, led by party leader Ben Gvir, while far-right religious leaders including the influential Rabbi Dov Lior are also in attendance along with 5000 attendees.


In 2005, Israel dismantled the 21 settlements that it had illegally constructed in the Gaza Strip as part of its disengagement from the Occupied Territories which it controlled after the 1967 Six Day War when Egypt lost control of the Gaza.  Here is a map showing the Israeli-controlled areas in the Gaza:



Here is a map showing the former Israeli settlements in the Gaza:



With that background, let's go back to the Settlements for Security conference.  Here is a poster for the conference:

At the conference, this map was shown to participants, outlining the reestablishment of 15 previous settlements and the location of 6 new ones, noting that the settlements are located in Gaza City and in the southern city of Khan Yunis which have both been ravaged by Israel's military actions:


Thanks to coverage of the conference by Oren Ziv of +972 Magazine, we have some details of what occurred at the Settlements for Security conference.  First, here is a quote from Daniella Weiss, Chairwoman of the settler organization Nahala when asked what will happen to the 2.3 million Palestinians that currently call Gaza home with my bolds throughout:


 "The Arabs will move....October 7 changed history.  Gaza, the southern gate to Israel, will be wide open. Gazans will leave [the Strip] for all parts of the world, and the Jewish people will make the land of our forefathers flourish. Each and every clod of the Land of Israel that our soldiers have within their grasp gives us the necessary strength to fight against a cruel and eternal enemy. It is not to a foreign land that we are returning, but rather to the golden sands of our Gaza. There is no ‘day after’ — the day after is today, it’s every day in which the Jewish people is victorious and returns to settle in Gaza.” 


She went on to explain that, just as Israel “doesn’t give them food” in order to pressure Hamas to release the hostages, so too should Israel “not give them anything, so they will have to move. The world will accept this.” 

In response to a banner that read "Only transfer will bring peace", Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir responded that:

"Yes, and also [there must be] a moral, logical, biblical, and Halakhic [Jewish religious law] solution, encouraging migration and implementing the death penalty for terrorists … to encourage them to leave.”


Communications Minister Shlomo Kara stated that:

"There will never be a Palestinian state between the (Jordan) river and the (Mediterranean) sea … We have an obligation to act, for our sake, and for the sake of the supposedly uninvolved [civilians in Gaza], for voluntary migration. Even if the war that was forced upon us turns the issue of voluntary migration into coercion to the point that they say: ‘I want to [leave].’”


In case you should happen to think that these viewpoints represent a tiny minority of Israelis, a poll conducted on November 15, 2023 showed that 44 percent of the Israeli public is in favour of the resumption of settlements in Gaza with 39 percent opposing resettlements.  Among those who defined themselves as right wing, 60 percent were in favour of resettlement compared to only 16 percent of those who define themselves as centre-left.


While, to governments in the West particularly the United States, the plan to resettle Gaza may seem somewhat unlikely, in fact, if one looks at the destruction of Gaza since October 7, 2023, one can easily see how Israel is setting itself up to take over Gaza as its own.  All you have to do is look at the example of the West Bank to see Gaza's future under Israeli control.  The concept of a two-state solution is unworkable in the current environment being propagated by Israel's right-leaning politicians and population no matter what the Biden Administration may appear to believe publicly.

No comments:

Post a Comment