A document leaked to the Sicha Mekomit news site calls on the government to relocate the entire population of Gaza to the Sinai
A leaked policy document compiled by Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence calls for the depopulation of Gaza and the forced displacement of its residents to Egyptian territory, according to a copy published by the Sicha Mekomit news site on Saturday.
The ten-page document, dated October 13, recommends that Israel establish tent cities in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to accommodate the Gazan population. These tent cities should then be developed into permanent settlements, with a “sterile zone of several kilometers” separating them from the Israeli border.
Under the plan, Gaza’s 2.3 million residents would be told that “there is no longer any hope of returning to the territories that Israel will occupy in the near future,” and that “Allah made sure that you lost this land because of the leadership of Hamas.”
US support will be vital to the plan’s success, the document states. Washington could put “pressure on Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to contribute to the initiative either in resources or in accepting displaced persons,” it notes, adding that Spain, Greece, and Canada could also be convinced to accept refugees from the strip.
Sicha Mekomit stated that the plan “amounts to the ethnic cleansing of Gaza.” According to the Ministry of Intelligence, however, the policy would be portrayed to the rest of the world as causing “fewer casualties among the civilian population” than the current cycle of Hamas attacks and overwhelming Israeli reprisals.
Despite its name, the Ministry of Intelligence does not oversee the activities of Israel’s security and intelligence agencies. Instead it prepares studies and policy papers for review by the government, which ultimately decides whether or not to implement them.
The ministry is headed by Gila Gamliel, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. Gamliel is the second Netanyahu ally in recent weeks to recommend the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, with the Meshgav Institute, a right-wing think tank, publishing a similar policy paper last week describing the war as “a rare opportunity” for the “relocation and final settlement of the entire Gaza population.”
The Meshgav Institute is led by Meir Ben Shabat, who served as Netanyahu’s national security adviser from 2017 until 2021. The paper was published online but deleted after it drew international condemnation.
Netanyahu’s office told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the ministry’s document represents “initial thoughts” on the future of Gaza, and will not be considered until the war is over.