War creates dislocation. After Gazan terrorists invaded southern Israel and massacred more than 1400 people, most of them civilians, the government of Israel moved to relocate its citizens in the border areas to safer places in the Israel interior. Israel also urged Gazans in the north of the Strip to head south for their own safety.
Most obeyed. Some did not. Those who stayed did so at their own risk, as did Israelis who remained in the country’s border areas absorbing daily mortars and rocket attacks. It is a terrible humanitarian crisis on both sides.
In the last weeks, by air and ground action, the IDF has been attacking the infrastructure of northern Gaza as well as central and southern parts of the Strip where Hamas set up tunnels, command centers, and ammunition storage. Inevitably, there has been damage to structures and loss of life. Such is the result of a war forced on Israel by Hamas.
Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been displaced from their original homes, much as hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been displaced from theirs. Additionally, millions of Gazans and Israelis face daily attacks from the air, Gazans by IDF bombs and artillery, Israelis by rockets and missiles fired by Hamas, Jihad, Hezbollah, and now even Houthis in Yemen. All are Iranian proxies.
Israel has been asked repeatedly about the “end game,” the political plan to follow the fighting. The government has made it clear that the Israeli war aim is to destroy Hamas and its ability to attack.
The IDF is making progress toward that goal as well as applying the pressure which, it is hoped, will lead to the release of hundreds of hostages seized on October 7. In addition, Hamas is now preventing thousands of foreign nationals, including hundreds of Americans, from leaving Gaza to Egypt.
Hamas is preventing a humanitarian solution for more than a million displaced Gazans, not providing them with safety, food, water, fuel, and medicine, hording supplies for military needs. Hamas leaders say unashamedly that the suffering of Gaza is not their problem.
So what is the solution for the displaced Gazan population? The solution is not far away. Both the United States and Israel have begun planning, and authorizing funds for, their relocation in Sinai. The region has the potential to be a new home far superior to and safer than, the ruins of Gaza. The Biden Administration has already requested hundreds of millions of dollars for refugee assistance. The European and the UN can also be expected to pitch in.
Israel has given its provision approval for a relocation. The Egyptians, while warning against forced repatriation of the refugees, have not ruled out an agreement in which the northeastern Sinai, in exchange for debt forgiveness and additional funding, could host the refugees.
Hamas, by its actions, not just by its recent barbarism but since its inception, by its genocidal charter, has disqualified itself as worthy of continued existence. It will cease to exist, and rightly so.
Denazification was a condition for Marshall Plan funding following defeat of Germany in World War 2.
Dehamasization must be required for receipt of international funding and residence in Gaza, or Sinai.
While Gazans are understandably reticent to endorse another population displacement, relocation to Sinai can be considered the lesser of evils and, in many ways, a superior alternative. The Rafah border area already has infrastructure on the Egyptian side that could be developed, extending west to the El-Arish resort area.
The move would allow the establishment of a more stable demilitarized area in Gaza, a key demand of Israel as a condition for preventing a recurrence of the cross-border invasion by Gazans and a reduction in the ability to launch rocket attacks across Israel’s southern border.
Such a relocation would allow Gazan civilians to get a fresh start and economic assistance to rebuild their lives, free from Hamas corruption and tyranny. International agencies would dispense the funds directly and not a terrorist government intent on diverting humanitarian aid to making war on Israel.
For Gaza, the move would facilitate its rehabilitation to a modern society, living at peace with Israel.
Israel did not ask for the unprovoked attack by Gazans – military forces and murderous civilians, across its southern border and the daily diet of hundreds of rockets. That reality must end.
The whole world must understand, by force if not logic, that Israel is not going away. They may cry and complain about a “second Nakba.” They must understand that they brought it on themselves.
International, regional, or other supervision of a demilitarized Gaza must ensure that residents do not revert to terrorism. Relocation offers the least bad prospect of a stable settlement for the years to come.
By relocating Gazans to Sinai, there is a chance for a more humane future conducive to stability.