Israel Must Take the Gaza Re-settlers Seriously

“HaBayit – Return to the Gaza Strip” is not a new page on Facebook. It was created July 12, 2014, five days after the onset of the 2014 Gaza War…..

“HaBayit – Return to the Gaza Strip” is not a new page on Facebook. It was created July 12, 2014, five days after the onset of the 2014 Gaza War. The last post before the start of the current war was posted August 22. The next one is from October 12, six days after Hamas’ pogrom-style attack. It includes a photomontage of many happy Jews on the street of a generic settlement, above which someone named Adi Moyal writes: “I can already hear the singing, the voices, Gaza erased, the north expanded.”

A few minutes later, a “simple infantry reservist on the front” named Benjamin Carpels writes that he’s “throwing out an offer. Two years from now, ‘Netzach Israel’ (Eternal Israel) has been established as a city among the other cities in Israel, on the ruins of the city of murderers of Gaza,” and, explaining the attached photo, adds: “Empty (shell) packaging. The presents that were inside have been gifted to the enemy.”

On October 23, Meir Dena-Picar, the page’s creator, proposed a solution that will “eliminate the problem of Gaza: Re-occupation of the Gaza Strip, destruction of the Upper and Lower (referring to the tunnels) Terror City and the refugee camps, expulsion of the population to the south.” In another post, he will propose to correct a mistake and establish high-density Jewish cities in the Gaza Strip.

Dena-Picar, of the settlement Beit Hagai, mocks anyone who treats his plan as delusional. And how right he is! As the last 50 years have shown, any single settler’s hallucination should be taken seriously, and treated as a plan of action by the next government, if not the current one. And when the hallucination is built on overt plans for total destruction and mass expulsion, wars are the most suitable ground for its realization.

For example: Prof. Eviatar Matania of Tel Aviv University calls for the destruction of Gaza City, but opposes the establishment of settlements in its place. In an article in the right-wing religious Makor Rishon on October 27, he proposes to minimize the current Gaza Strip, reducing it to its southern part, to which the Palestinian population will be deported; completely destroying Gaza City; and erecting a huge park in its place in memory of the Hamas attack’s victims.

About two weeks ago, Amitai Gazit of Yediot Aharonot’s Calcalist revealed a policy paper by the Intelligence Ministry, headed by Gila Gamliel, with a “proposal” for the expulsion of all Gaza Strip residents to Egypt. The internal document ended up in the hands of a group that is establishing the “ Settlement Headquarters for the Gaza Strip.” Likud MK Amir Weitmann demanded that the generous compensation package given to Egypt ensure that the expelled Palestinians be housed in Egypt proper, rather than in the Sinai Peninsula.

To illustrate how far from hallucinatory or marginal these ideas are, we need only look to Yossi Cohen, ex Mossad chief, who has recently been appointed a “special missions envoy” dealing with questions regarding the war’s aftermath. Such questions apparently include, as reported by Haaretz’s Yossi Verter: “Can a large part of the (Gaza) population be transferred to Sinai with the consent of Egypt?” Verter further reported that the same political source is certain that “Israel cannot allow everyone who fled south to return north.”

This is what the IDF is openly implementing today: With heavy bombardment and destruction, it pushes the population of the northern half of the Gaza Strip south, destroying everything it can. At the end of the war, there may already be a compromise between those Israelis who demand full expulsion and settlements throughout the Gaza Strip, those who settle for settlements on 80 percent of its territory, and those who support a large park and partial expulsion.