It is hard to fathom anyone but the woefully uninformed and the willfully ignorant still believing this assault on Gaza was a war on Hamas when it has plainly been Israel using the horrific events of October 7 as an excuse to launch a war against the Palestinian civilian population. It has been plain in both word and deed from the beginning. Toady, it is even clearer.
One thing about the right wing in Israel: they are proud of their views and generally don’t hide their agenda just because many will object to it. In that vein, GLZ Radio in Israel reported today on the words of Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, an ideological driver of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and a top leader of the far-right settler movement.
GLZ reports that Smotrich said, “I welcome the initiative of the voluntary migration of Gaza Arabs to the countries of the world. This is the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region after 75 years of refugees, poverty, and danger. Voluntary immigration of Gaza Arabs to the world is the right humanitarian solution.”
But Smotrich is only one piece of the puzzle. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Likud MK Danny Danon and Ram Ben Barak of the so-called “centrist” Yesh Atid party echo Smotrich’s ideas, saying that “countries around the world [should] accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate…It is the only solution that will bring an end to the suffering and pain of Jews and Arabs alike. The State of Israel will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza.”
Danon and Barak suggest that countries accept Gazan families willing to immigrate and resettle, with the “consent of all parties involved.” This, of course ignores the fact that few Gazans want to emigrate, though now they may feel they have no choice if the opportunity presents itself. Given that Israel has destroyed tens of thousands of residential structures and much of the rest of Strip and made the territory basically unlivable (it was barely livable before the massive Israeli assault), some may give their give their consent.
But that is not true consent. That is the proverbial “offer they can’t refuse.” It is either accept relocation or stay in a destroyed Gaza with no home, no water, no infrastructure, and no hope for the future.
Danon and Barak describe their relocation program. “This can be done through a structured mechanism, with inter-state coordination aimed at providing an international response to the residents of Gaza. Moreover – in order to facilitate the acclimatization of those Gazans, the international community can and should assist them with a generous economic aid package, so that every Gazan family can be absorbed in the destination country more easily and comfortably.”
This is, ultimately, the final realization of Israel’s desire for full sovereignty over all of what is referred to as Mandatory Palestine, the area of Palestine under British control from the end of World War I until 1948. And it’s not confined to the far right but is the vision of Netanyahu’s Likud party (still the biggest in the Knesset) and the so-called “moderate” opposition party, Yesh Atid. That’s a huge piece of the Israeli political spectrum.
We need to get serious and wrap our minds around what Israel is doing. This is not about Hamas. The murderous act on October 7 just gave the Israeli right the excuse they have been waiting for to “finish the job” of 1948. The goal here is to destroy the Palestinians as a national entity and to rid the land of as many of them as possible, whether through outright killing or driving them off to other places. The process that started in Gaza is also spreading to the West Bank.
That’s what Joe Biden and Antony Blinken are working so hard to support. That is what we, as Americans, are 100% complicit in. That’s what we all have a responsibility to stop.