Israeli minister Avi Dichter says 'Nakba being rolled out' in Gaza
An Israeli minister said on Saturday that Tel Aviv was rolling out a "Nakba" in the Gaza Strip, as more than 1.5 million people have been left displaced by Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Palestinian territory.
In an interview on Saturday with the Israeli N12 channel, agriculture minister Avi Dichter was asked about whether the dispossession of Gaza’s residents was the long-term or temporary objective of Israel’s military campaign.
"It is first and almost an operational event. We have a huge number of fighters of our own that have to operate in a densely-populated area. We need to reduce the number of residents," said Dichter, who was formerly director of Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet.
"This is going to result in some sort of Nakba," he added.
"[This is] a Gaza Nakba 2023, that's how it'll end."
During the live television segment, Dichter repeatedly used the term Nakba - the Arabic word for 'catastrophe', used to describe the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to create the state of Israel in 1948 - with no apparent pushback from the programme's presenters.
"We are now actually rolling out the Gaza Nakba," says Avi Dichter, Israel's Minister for Agriculture and former head of Shin Bet.— Hanno Hauenstein (@hahauenstein) November 11, 2023
Earlier this week, thousands of Palestinians could be seen fleeing their homes in Gaza as they headed south of the enclave in footage shared online, amid continued Israeli threats of a ground offensive and indiscriminate bombardment.
Some of the displaced could be seen carrying their belongings, while others waved white flags and put their hands up in the air.
Israel's brutal onslaught on Gaza, which began on 7 October, has killed more than 11,100 Palestinians. Hospitals, places of worship, refugee camps and homes have been struck.
Dichter has been the subject of controversy regarding Gaza and Palestinians in the past. The minister risked being arrested on war crime charges over a decade ago after being involved in a targeted bombing of a house in Gaza in 2002.
In 2007, Dichter said "whoever cries of the Nakba year after year, shouldn't be surprised if they have a Nakba eventually," in response to Palestinian citizens of Israel's refusal to partake in the country's 60th anniversary celebrations.