The Gaza War, the Fears of Another Nakba, and Jordan and Egypt

Yossi Schwartz ISL (RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 11.02.2024

The danger for a new Nakba is growing with Netanyahu ordering a plan of eviction of the Palestinians from Raffa. This may lead to a military conflict between Israel and Egypt that opposes the expelling of the people of Gaza to North Sinai.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the IDF and the defense establishment to bring to the war cabinet a plan for both the evacuation of civilians in the south Gaza city of Rafah and the neutralization of the four Hamas battalions therein, the Prime Minister’s Office stated on Friday. Therefore,” the statement continued, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the IDF and the security establishment to submit to the Cabinet a combined plan for evacuating the population and destroying the battalions.” [1]

The Palestinian authority has released a statement saying:

“Netanyahu’s comments on a planned assault on Rafah a “real threat” and part of an Israeli plan to forcibly remove Palestinians from their land. The statement added that the Israeli and US governments would be held fully responsible for the consequences of such a move, and called for the UN Security Council to act.” [2]

Today the Jerusalem Post has an article summarizing the understanding of the Arab states of the real aim of Israel in the war – the permanent desolation of Gaza without any prospect of rehabilitation, essentially consigning it to a state of perpetual ruin and decay and relocating the 2.3 million to the Arab neighborhood states or other states. [3]

 “Since the outset of the ongoing Gaza war, the focus has been on deciphering the true intentions behind the conflict and whether the stated aim of eliminating Hamas truly represents Israel’s underlying objective. It has become increasingly apparent that the conventional approach of seeking victory through direct confrontation may not be feasible, given the nature of the adversary. There is a recognition that Hamas cannot be vanquished by conventional military means, which leads to contemplating the genuine purpose of the war. Amid this contemplation, a disturbing prospect arises: the notion of an undisclosed and enduring goal emerging from the conflict. The prospect of Gaza being reduced to a dilapidated territory devoid of any possibility for growth or recovery appears increasingly plausible. The wider context of conflict and displacement within the Arab world further compounds this distressing outlook. The absence of basic amenities and infrastructure, coupled with the disarray and suffering of its inhabitants, portends a future bereft of progress or prosperity, amplifying the sense of despair and hopelessness. This ominous trajectory is reinforced by reports indicating reluctance among numerous nations to participate in the reconstruction of Gaza, citing concerns that any efforts to rebuild would only be undone by future hostilities. Compounding this, the resistance to the implementation of a neutral Arab or international authority to prevent further conflict instills a sense of futility in the prospect of rehabilitation. Moreover, the current and anticipated plight of the people of Gaza is poised to push them toward eventual acquiescence to the notion of relocation, whether to neighboring or distant countries, effectively fulfilling a long-term, albeit insidious, objective of the conflict. Notably, Israel has unequivocally declared its intention to withhold essential resources such as electricity, water, and financial support from Gaza in the future. Furthermore, there are indications of intent to obstruct employment opportunities for Gazans within Israel, exacerbating the deprivation faced by the region. Additionally, the potential reduction of American aid, particularly to UNRWA, which supports a significant portion of Gaza’s populace, further exacerbates the precarious situation. In conclusion, contemplation of the full spectrum of potential outcomes is essential to guard against the unanticipated and ensure preparedness in the face of future uncertainties, a prudent approach given historical precedents” [4]

To Egypt the war has delivered not only a humanitarian crisis, but the potential destruction of the regional order from which the Egyptian local ruling class has benefited politically and economically since the signing of the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978.

The growing possibility of a potential ethnic cleansing from Gaza into Egypt by Israel, presents Egypt with a real threat, and the prospects for a broader Middle East war that is growing greater by the day, has been forced Egypt of Al Sisi dictatorship to play larger diplomatic role, with significantly higher stakes, than it has in many years.

Egypt also has maintained the unreal official line that the final political settlement between Palestinians and Israelis will be based on a two-state solution, a hallmark of US Middle East policy since Bill Clinton presidency. In the real world this policy of the two states has provided Israel the time to settle the West-Bank and did not cost Egypt anything. The October 7 attack, and the devastating Zionist response, have changed everything for Cairo.

The expelling of the people of Gaza has brought a security risk for the Egyptian local ruling class. Since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza the Egyptian capitalists fear that the suggestions from prominent Israeli officials that Palestinians should be allowed to cross the border into Egypt temporarily, for humanitarian reasons, are for a more sinister aim. Israel’s intention to displace massive numbers of Gazans is not for a short time but it will become permanent, another round of the 1948 Nakba (“Catastrophe”) that saw between 750,000 to 900,000 Palestinians driven from their homes during the war that created Israel. Stealing the Palestinian lands, houses and other resources was the base of the primitive accumulation of capital.

Views within Israel in support of a second Nakba are not new, and are on the rise. Right-wing extremist Israeli cabinet members Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir have both endorsed the idea of expelling Palestinians from Gaza. On October 18, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave a speech that strongly denounced any Israeli plans to deport Gaza’s population to Egypt. that a forced population transfer would end the possibility of a Palestinian state and will transform Sinai into a center for anti-Israel militancy, with serious consequences for Egypt’s own security. Hamas fighters could infiltrate into Egypt with civilians driven into Sinai and set up a new base there from which to attack Israel, a development that could produce at least two threats for Egypt. Israel could strike Hamas inside Egyptian territory, thereby endanger the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. And Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, could use Sinai to challenge the Egyptian regime, which has ruthlessly suppressed the Brotherhood since Al-Sisi’s 2013 military coup removed the group from power and smashed the revolutionary uprising.

Shortly after the Al Sisi speech, an Israeli Ministry of Intelligence “concept paper” on population transfer leaked to an Israeli news website. The plan proposed moving refugees into tent cities in Sinai before permanent construction of new cities to house them and creating a “security zone” along the Gaza-Egypt border to prevent Palestinians from returning.

A conference organized by Israeli settlers in late January at which participants demanded the resettlement of Gaza was attended by more than a dozen government ministers, providing one more indication that the ethnic cleansing is on the Zionist mind. In the 2000s Egypt rejected an Israeli plan—the so-called Eiland Plan—to resettle Gazans in northern Sinai in exchange for debt relief. The hardline government of Netanyahu has also inflamed Egypt’s suspicions about Israel’s war aims through its alarmingly vague goals in Gaza Netanyahu has rejected a Biden administration proposal to allow a reformed Palestinian Authority to take charge, and vowed to maintain Israeli security control over Gaza for the foreseeable future.

This requires establishing Israel’s control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a buffer zone along Gaza’s southern border currently administered on each side of the line by Egypt and Hamas. An Egyptian government spokesman has warned that an Israeli takeover of the corridor will be in violation of the security agreements and protocols signed between Israel and Egypt and that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious and grave threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations. The scale of destruction on the ground in Gaza has only reinforced the now widely-held view that Israel intends to render the enclave uninhabitable in order to force the Palestinians out.

If Israel will not be defeated in Gaza the next ethnic cleansing will be of the West-Bank

“According to Wall Street Journal of December 30, the war had damaged or destroyed 77 percent of health facilities, 72 percent of municipal services such as parks, courts and libraries, 68 percent of telecommunications infrastructure, and 76 percent of commercial sites, as well as 20 percent of agricultural land, 70 percent of homes, and half of Gaza’s buildings overall. Some 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have been displaced. Israel is also pursuing a campaign of “controlled demolitions” that destroyed 3000 houses in Gaza border areas to create a buffer zone.” [5]

As former chief of the Zionist army Gadi Eisenkot, now a member of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, stated in 2008, “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases…. This is a plan that has already been authorized” [6]

These destructive actions are a warning that worse may be to come, and not just in Gaza. Jordan is casting a wary eye on growing settler violence in the occupied West Bank, supported by the Israeli army, which has sharply increased its own attacks on alleged Palestinian militants as well as civilians, including through the use of air power. Both Cairo and Amman are bracing themselves for a potential influx of refugees that could dwarf anything seen in 1948.

Al Sisi and Abdullah king of Jordan have to denounce Israel genocide and the plan for another Nakba because the Arab masses stand with the Palestinians, but this does not mean that Israel is not planning a new ethnic cleansing. Only a major defeat in the war or a socialist revolution will stop this plan, but for this the Arab rulers must stop sitting on their hands and join the Houthis. They face the possibility that they will continue to sit on their hands of a new revolutionary wave aimed at removing them from power.

Al Sisi knows that the popular support for Gaza could quickly turn into widespread anger about Al-Sisi’s repression and poor economic management. Last fall, dozens of protesters at pro-Gaza demonstrations were arrested after they began chanting anti-Sisi slogans. The government has every intention of maintaining its usual tight grip on public protests of all kinds, but this may become more challenging the longer the war in Gaza goes on. The same is true for Abdullah, the king of Jordan.

No to the New Nakba!

Down with the Zionist apartheid state from the river to the sea!

For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!





[4] Ibid



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