After flattening many parts of Gaza with aerial bombardment and ground artillery, Israel may be planning to transfer the now homeless refugees to Egypt, where hundreds of tents have been set up near Rafah. One local blogger said that a soldier told him there are many more tents being prepared, as well.
According to Professor As'ad AbuKhalil, author of the 'Angry Arab' blog, fellow blogger Ahdaf Souif in (Egyptian) Rafah told him, "Outside the general Hospital in Egyptian Rafah a city of tents has sprung up. I counted 200. But the soldiers there told me they have many more and can set them up immediately. They said the beds and furnishings for all the camps are ready. I was also told that other camps are being set up, in el-Arish and other locations. I was told these camps were being set up for 'the Palestinian refugees.'”
|Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are the children or grandchildren refugees from what is now Israel, who were forced out when Israel was created in 1948 on Palestinian land, may be hesitant to move to what are currently temporary shelters in Egypt, but could end up becoming refugee camps – as the Gaza Strip became for 1948 refugees.|
Israeli rightists have, in the past, promoted a plan to deny the Palestinian people a state by making Gaza part of Egypt, and the West Bank (minus the Israeli settlements) part of Jordan. Avigdor Lieberman, one of the most outspoken proponents of such a plan, is currently a member of the Israeli cabinet.
Egyptian officials have not commented on the tents, which were apparently set up after secret negotiations with Israel just prior to the Israeli 'ceasefire' in Gaza. Despite the 'ceasefire', Egyptian officials continue to make it extremely difficult for foreign nationals, including doctors and journalists, from entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.
Souif reported that he asked the Egyptian soldiers about the tents, and was told they were for Palestinian refugees who were expected to be coming through the Rafah border crossing when it opened. The Israeli government has been pressuring Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, while continuing to keep all other borders of Gaza completely sealed.
Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are the children or grandchildren refugees from what is now Israel, who were forced out when Israel was created in 1948 on Palestinian land, may be hesitant to move to what are currently temporary shelters in Egypt, but could end up becoming refugee camps – as the Gaza Strip became for 1948 refugees.
But faced with a severe shortage of all essential items, the inability to rebuild homes flattened by Israeli forces due to the Israeli economic blockade preventing the entry of building materials and tools, many Gazans may not have much choice.
Many Arab bloggers are beginning to speculate that perhaps the transfer of the Gazans was, at least in part, Israel's main intention in invading the Gaza Strip for the last three weeks.
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