Israeli lawmakers unite to push for Jewish colonization of Gaza

The Cradle, June 17, 2024 — 

Many in Israel view the war on Gaza as an effort to conquer new land, cleanse it of Palestinians, and settle Jews in their place.

Two members of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party announced the establishment of a parliamentary caucus lobby for Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, the Times of Israel reported on 17 June.

In a joint release, MKs Zvi Sukkot and Limor Son Har-Melech announced the establishment of the “Knesset Caucus for the Renewal of Settlement in the Gaza Strip.”

The Knesset members stated that the lobby, slated to launch Tuesday, is necessary to reverse the effects of the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza. The Disengagement led to the dismantling of the Gush Katif settlement bloc and four Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

For several years preceding the current war, religious Zionist settlers in Israel called for a war to conquer Gaza, reverse the Disengagement, and rebuild Gush Katif.

According to the two MKs, “settlement in the Gaza Strip [is] a necessary step to protect Israel’s security and ensure its future.”

“Only by a dense presence of Jewish settlements throughout Gaza will it be possible to prevent the continuation of terrorist threats and deter the enemy,” they state.

“Only settlement will bring security,” says Sukkot, a prominent settler activist who was arrested multiple times and suspected of involvement in the burning of a mosque in the occupied West Bank. “Only Jewish children playing in the Strip will make the Nova terrorists realize that they have lost.”

“When they realize that they are losing control of Gaza and losing the land of Gaza, they will be ready to release hostages without setting conditions that pose a threat to the existence of the State of Israel,” he adds.

Son Har Melech, who was a resident of the northern West Bank settlement of Homesh before Israel evacuated it during the Disengagement, claimed that “if we do not plant deep Jewish roots in the land of Gaza, the enemy will continue to expand the range of his attacks and continue to threaten us.”

“Without settlement, not only the residents of the Gaza border area but also the residents of the north and other parts of the country will never feel safe,” she says.

In January, 11 ministers and 15 coalition lawmakers attended a mass conference to advocate the rebuilding of Jewish settlements in the heart of the Gaza Strip.

To make way for Jewish settlement in Gaza, many in the Israeli government advocate the destruction of Palestinian cities and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Shortly after the war started, Israeli culture magazine Mekomit published a leaked document issued by Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence recommending the occupation of Gaza and the total transfer of its 2.3 million inhabitants to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

The document, issued on 13 October, identifies a plan to transfer all residents of the Gaza Strip to North Sinai as the preferred option among three alternatives for the end of the war between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian resistance.

The document recommends that Israel evacuate the Gazan population to Sinai during the war, establish tent cities and new cities in northern Sinai to accommodate the deported population, and then create a closed security zone stretching several kilometers inside Egypt. The deported Palestinians would not be allowed to return to any areas near the Israeli border.

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