Ethnic cleansing is the central goal of Israel's aggression

Ethnic cleansing of Gaza: The unambiguous goal of Israel's genocidal assault
6 min read

Mustafa Barghouti

09 December, 2023
Israel won't succeed in its goals to ethnically cleanse Gaza due to the heroic steadfastness of Palestinians, says Mustafa Barghouti, but the price is their blood, unless all people of conscience use all possible channels to force Israel to stop.
Israeli PM Netanyahu has made it clear that his goal is to force Gaza's population into the Sinai desert [Al-Araby Al-Jadeed]

After Israel resumed its all-out assault on Gaza, the bombardment by its warplanes, artillery and tanks has engulfed the entirety of the Strip, from Rafah in the south to the uppermost northern border.

The Israeli army are desperately seeking to make up for their failure after 50 days of war, with this new attempt to crush the resistance in northern Gaza and Gaza City to secure control. So far it has failed to achieve this, despite the savagery of its attacks.

It is also, more importantly, attempting to displace the steadfast inhabitants of these areas - who have remained - to southern Gaza by terrorising them through relentless bombing.

Israel has not hidden its intentions - its planes dropped flyers over the residents of Al-Qarara, Khuza'a and Abasan, three towns in Khan Younis province, warning them that it was now a "dangerous area" and instructing them to leave and go south to Rafah on the Egyptian border.

The goal is evidently the displacement of all residents from north to south, and from there, further displacement southwards to Rafah and the Egyptian border. The Israelis clearly hope the ensuing exacerbation in human suffering as millions are crammed into an ever-smaller area, will bring about the kind of pressure needed to break the valiant Palestinian steadfastness, and force Egypt to budge from its staunch refusal to allow the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip to be pushed into its Sinai desert.

Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, an outlet which has good relations with Netanyahu, uncovered his real intentions when discussing this displacement plan. It wrote that Netanyahu wanted to "thin" the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip "to a minimum", by expelling as many Palestinians as possible from it.

The piece presented further expulsion scenarios via the Rafah crossing, such as ejecting the population using ships, which is what happened to Palestinians from Yaffa and Haifa during the Nakba in 1948.  However, it then reverted to describing Netanyahu's plan as "political fantasy", due to its failure to reckon with the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and their insistence on remaining in their homeland even if the price is death and martyrdom.

Added to this is Egypt's political line, as well as widespread international opposition, including from many figures within the US administration. The newspaper also wrote that even members of the Israeli war cabinet, like Gantz, Gallant and Eisenkot, consider Netanyahu’s plans to be unrealistic and far-fetched, even if they wish they could be realised.

Some Western media channels which have shown a disgraceful and shameful level of bias towards Israel, have denied that its goal is ethnic cleansing, even though this has already effectively been carried out given 80% of Gaza's population was forced to leave their homes, and hundreds of thousands, under ferocious bombardment, were forced to move south. Not only this, but those who attempted to return to Gaza City and the north during the temporary ceasefire, were shot at.

These media channels ignore what Netanyahu himself openly declared in the first days of the aggression - that all inhabitants of the Gaza Strip must leave their homes. Moreover, they ignore that Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht said even more clearly words to the effect that the entire population of the Gaza Strip needed to leave their homes and head to Egypt – a statement which made the headline of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

But the Palestinians will not leave, because they experienced forcible displacement in 1948, and know deeply the bitterness and humiliation suffered by those forced to become refugees. They are also fully aware that if they depart from Palestine - their homeland - and leave the Gaza Strip, they will never be allowed to return.

The heroic resilience of the people of Gaza under the barbaric onslaught the world has borne witness to will go down in history; but every decent human being today needs to mobilise all their energy to force Israel to stop its savage aggression and prevent the ethnic cleansing that Netanyahu is planning to carry out.

The death toll of the first day that Israel renewed its bombardment on Gaza was 200 - and around 600 were injured. Israel also blocked the entry of all aid into Gaza via the Rafah crossing, which constitutes the collective punishment of 2.3 million people. All of this is taking place in addition to the unbearable pressure on hospitals and health facilities deprived of medicines and medical equipment.

Therefore, we reiterate our demand to the governments of the 57 Arab and Islamic states that met in Riyadh – that they form a humanitarian aid convoy which collectively represents them, as well as call on international humanitarian organisations to take part - to break the blockade being illegally imposed on the Rafah crossing by Israel.

If this happens, will Israel really dare bomb a convoy containing representatives from 57 states, the populations of which number over two billion people - a quarter of the world's population?

Alongside this, with the renewal of Israel's onslaught, we renew our legitimate demand from all states which have normalised relations with Israel, to cancel their agreements, cut ties, and expel its ambassadors.

Likewise we demand that all Arabic and Islamic states send a clear message to the US, Britain and every state that supports the continuation of Israel's assault and refuses to support a complete and permanent ceasefire. This message should state clearly that their interests in the Arab and Islamic states will incur damage if they persist in their stance.

Israel and its occupation will not break the will of the Palestinian people, nor their steadfastness. Nor will it succeed in achieving its goal of displacement and ethnic cleansing. However, the price of this resilience is being paid for in blood – that of Palestinians and their children.

So the question is this – how many more thousands of children must die before the consciences of those who have ignored and failed in their humanitarian, national and religious duty finally wake up?

Mustafa Barghouti is founder and leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) as well as a doctor, activist, writer, and advocate of Palestinian rights. He has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff, or the author's employer.

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