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The Israeli government maintains vagueness on the post-war period in the Gaza Strip, but ministers clearly plead for the annexation of the Palestinian territory and the reestablishment of the settlements, dismantled nearly 20 years ago.

In Israel, the far right reigns ;ve to the recolonization of Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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  • Rania Massoud (View profile)Rania Massoud

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“A house by the sea is not a dream! » This promotional slogan from a real estate agency could have gone unnoticed if not for the accompanying visual.

The image, shared on the Instagram account of the company Harei Zahav, which specializes in housing construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, shows plans for modern housing overlooking ruins on the Gaza coast.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">We are working on clearing debris and evicting squatters. We hope that in the near future […] we will be able to start construction in the Gush Katif region, indicates a text in Hebrew at the bottom of the visual.

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The Israeli real estate company published this visual on Instagram showing plans for modern housing juxtaposed with the ruins of Gaza. The company's Instagram and Twitter accounts were deleted within days of this post.

Gush Katif refers to the former settlement bloc established in the Gaza Strip for 38 years, between 1967 and 2005. On September 11, 2005, the government of Ariel Sharon completed the withdrawal of its troops and the 8,000 settlers who lived in this Palestinian territory.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Beyond its anecdotal nature, this advertising campaign, which was later deleted, reflects a position shared by several politicians, including deputies and ministers within the government of Benyamin Netanyahu, the most right-wing government in the history of Israel, resulting from an alliance with ultra-Orthodox and far-right parties.

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu is one of these hawks. A member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, he recently said that Israel must fully reoccupy the Gaza Strip after the war, saying the Palestinians are incapable of controlling the territory without making it a hotbed of terrorism.

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This same minister made headlines in November when he raised the possibility of dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip to put an end to Hamas. Asked about the fate of the Palestinian population, he said: They can go to Ireland or to the desert; the monsters in Gaza should find a solution on their own.

His comments were quickly disavowed by Mr. Netanyahu, who temporarily suspended the participation of the Minister at his Cabinet meetings.

Days after the start of the war, Education Minister Yoav Kisch and Transport Minister Miri Regev both accused the politicians behind the dismantling of settlements in the Gaza Strip of being responsible for the bloody Hamas attack of October 7.

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Children play next to abandoned buildings in the former Jewish settlement of Ganei Tal, in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip , August 11, 2015. (Archive photo)

That day, the Palestinian Islamist movement launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli soil from from the Gaza Strip, killing at least 1,140 people, most of them civilians.

Some 250 people were also taken hostage during this attack. Since then, around 100 have been released as part of a truce at the end of November in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, shelling Palestinian territory, besieging it and carrying out a vast ground operation since October 27. More than 20,000 people were killed in Israeli bombings, mostly women, children and teenagers, according to the Hamas health ministry.

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Thick smoke emerges from northern Gaza, seen from the Israeli side of the border, on December 21, 2023.

This war is the Gaza Nakba 2023, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter said on Israeli television on November 12. The Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic, refers to the name in the Arab world of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the exodus of Palestinians who

To date, 1.9 million people, or 85% of the Palestinian population, have been displaced by war, according to the UN.

After ordering the evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip at the start of the offensive, forcing the displacement of more than a million Palestinians, Israel again launched a call on Thursday to evacuate a large area of ​​Khan Younes, the largest city in the south of the territory.

Bezalel Smotrich, settler and finance minister, speaks of voluntary migration of Palestinians from Gaza, saying it is the right humanitarian solution for the besieged enclave and the region, a position that the Palestinian Authority describes as support for ethnic cleansing.

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Palestinian refugees in tents on December 21, 2023, in Al-Mawasi, Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

The minister right-wing extremist group made these statements in mid-November following the publication of an article in the Wall Street Journal by two Israeli MPs, including the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, calling on Western countries to welcome part of the Palestinian population of Gaza.

Calls for the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip are not new, but the Hamas attack on October 7 has revived this old dream among the extreme Israeli right.

In May, five months before the deadly Hamas assault, Mr. Smotrich and the Minister of National Missions, Orit Strock, of the far-right Religious Zionism party, had separately launched a call for the reconquest of the enclave by Israel to put an end to the repeated attacks by Palestinian armed groups in the territory.

The time will probably come to return to Gaza, dismantle Hamas and demilitarize Gaza, Mr. Smotrich said in an interview on Israeli television. I believe the time will come when there will be no other choice but to reconquer Gaza.

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One of the defining images of the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Two Israeli women cry from a hole in the roof of their house moments before being evacuated from the settlement of Gush Katif, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

On December 11, a coalition of settler movements held a conference to discuss a practical plan for reestablishing the settlements Jews in Gaza. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the conference attracted some 200 people and organizers have already compiled a list of families who have committed to settling in a possible settlement project in Gaza.

After [October 7], everyone understands that settlements mean security, and where there are no settlements, there is terror, massacres and violence. Holocaust, Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Settlement Council in the northern West Bank, said in a recent interview with Israel's right-wing Channel 14.

Called to react, the consul general of Israel in Montreal, Paul Hirschson, minimized the comments of the far-right ministers, affirming that they represent only a fringe of Israeli society.

The most extreme opinions attract more attention than they deserve, he told Radio-Canada. I'm not saying these opinions don't exist. They exist, but they have no influence.

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According to him, it is still too early to put forward hypotheses about the future of the Gaza Strip, but some certainties seem to emerge: We do not yet know who will lead the Gaza Strip, but one thing is certain, it will not will be neither Hamas nor Israel.

I think there is consensus in Israel that Hamas will no longer be present in the Gaza Strip [after the war]. There is also consensus that Israel will not be there either. I think there is also a consensus that the territory will be demilitarized and that Israel will exercise some role in maintaining its own security.

A quote from Paul Hirschson, consul general of Israel. Israel in Montreal

He explains that the reason there is not more clarity on post-war scenarios is because there is a need for national unity at the moment. in Israel. We must maintain this feeling of unity while we are still in the middle of war, he said.

A poll conducted in early December by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that more than half of Israelis (56%) oppose the annexation of the Gaza Strip and the restoration of settlements dismantled in 2005, against 33% who say they are in favor and 11% who are still unsure.

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Hamas militants set fire to the effigy of an Israeli settlement during a rally on September 16, 2005 in the former Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, in the south of the Gaza Strip. (File photo)

Once again, it is the Israelis who will decide the fate of the Palestinians, deplores Yakov Rabkin, professor emeritus at the University of Montreal and specialist in contemporary Jewish history. We are not asking the opinion of the Palestinians in Gaza. We talk about them as if they were inanimate objects, he told Radio-Canada.

As long as we do not admit equal rights for [Palestinians], we will rely solely on military force, which will not not increase the security of Israel or that of the Palestinians, of course.

A quote from Yakov Rabkin, professor emeritus at the University of Montreal

I believe that any historian will tell you the same thing: suppose that Israel eradicates Hamas down to the last combatant. In a few years, there will be another movement that will replace it. That's inevitable, explains Mr. Rabkin.

A colonized population will revolt, that's clear. […] As long as Palestinians live in these colonized conditions, there will be a resistance movement.

With the information from Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Washington Times, Al-Jazeera, Times of Israel, Haaretz, Ynet and NBC News.

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