As the war in Gaza enters its fourth week, the Qatari-based 24-hour television news network, Al Jazeera, is reporting that plans could be afoot by the Israeli government to settle Gaza residents in Egypt.
Quoting a report from an Israeli think tank, Khalid Majzoub of Al Jazeera Fact Check says the paper is titled “A Plan for Resettlement and Final Rehabilitation in Egypt” and spells out the grand plan to rid Gaza of its inhabitants.
Majzoub says that since the war began four weeks ago after Hamas militants infiltrated Israel and killed 1,400 and kidnapped hundreds of others, the Israeli Defence Force has repeatedly asked residents living north of Gaza to move south “for their own protection” - despite the army bombing cities in the south as well.
“These Israeli officials are asked, Where should Palestinians in Gaza go then? The answer is simple: Egypt”.
Al Jazeera uses a clip from an Israeli official who says, “This is thought out. It's not something that we tell them: go to the beaches, go drown yourselves, God forbid, not at all. There is a huge expanse, almost endless space, in the Sinai Desert, just on the other side of Gaza”.
Majzoub highlights, however, that Egypt has categorically refused an influx of refugees from Gaza.
While Israel claims that moving south would be a temporary measure and that people will be able to return when hostilities end.
However, Majzoub says a paper dated October 17 from the Israeli think tank, The Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, which is run by a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, paints a different picture.
The paper says that “there is currently a unique and rare opportunity to evacuate the entire Gaza Strip”.
According to this plan, in 2017, it was reported that there are about 10 million vacant housing units in Egypt in some residential neighbourhoods in Cairo, including the neighbourhoods of the Sixth of October and the 10th of Ramadan City.
“The report estimates that the total amount that will be required to be transferred to Egypt to finance the project will be on the order of about $5 to $8 billion. As per the report, the sums of money in relation to the Israeli economy are minimal,” Majzoub says.
“It continues to say immediate stimulus of this magnitude into the Egyptian economy would provide a tremendous and immediate benefit and that the Gaza Strip would in turn be used to provide high-quality housing for many Israeli citizens who would resettle there”.
Majzoub adds that this report was followed by a document leaked from inside the Ministry of Intelligence and Israel, according to the Calcalist news outlet in Israel.
This document was not meant for public consumption.
According to Al Jazeera, it outlines a plan to transfer Gaza’s residents to Sinai that will yield positive and long-term strategic results.
"The move includes three stages: the establishment of tent cities in Sinai, southwest of the Gaza Strip; the creation of a humanitarian corridor to aid the residents; and finally, the construction of cities in northern Sinai. At the same time, a buffer zone several kilometres wide will be established inside Egypt south of the Gaza border so that the evacuated residents will not be able to return. In light of what's happening in Gaza, even UN human rights experts are warning that Palestinians are in grave danger of losing their homes yet again, saying, “Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war. And they go on to say again, in the name of self-defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would only amount to an operation of ethnic cleansing”.
Since fighting broke out on October 7, more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed.