18 January, 2009
Under cover of announcing humanitarian relief for injured Palestinians, it is now emerging that Israel is planning the transfer of tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt.
Evidence of the Israeli transfer plan has been sent to London based Islington Friends of Yibna** [IFY]. Earlier today, Sat 17 Jan 09, IFY received a photo of tents outside the main hospital in Egyptian Rafah, near the border with Gaza.
The white tents with no markings are being erected by the Egyptian Army, starting last night, Fri 16 Jan 09. The photo was taken this morning [Sat 17 January 09]. The soldiers stated that 5,000 tents were planned for refugees from Gaza.
Further information is available from our contacts in the Egyptian side of Rafah [Rafah was divided by Israel after it occupied Gaza and Sinai in 1967; Israel divided Rafah when Sinai was returned to Egypt].
From our contacts in Yibna Refugee Camp in Gaza we have learnt that, in the north east of Rafah, near the Egyptian border, Israeli tanks have surrounded and sealed off the Al Sarayh neighbourhood, for more than the last 48 hours. There are many injured people trapped there, the Israelis are not allowing access for the Red Cross and many people are dying of their wounds, isolated and with no medical treatment.
We have grave concerns that Israel will target the Al Sarayh neighbourhood to be the first to be transferred and that this might be within the next 24h.
While Al Sarayh is completely isolated, with no access even to the Red Cross, Israel can prepare and carry out its plans without any witnesses from the aid agencies to alert the international community. While preventing Al Sarayh from accessing any medical treatment, Israel would portray a transfer as an Israeli humanitarian gesture to allow them access to medical treatment in Egypt. Given that Israel has been bombing Al Sarayh non-stop Israel would portray a transfer as a humanitarian gesture to allow them to escape the killing fields of the constant Israeli bombardment [thus claiming they will be safer in Egypt and giving them the “choice”].
Israel is NOT on a mercy mission. While presenting this transfer as a humanitarian gesture, allowing injured Palestinians and their families out across the Rafah border crossing for hospital treatment, the Israeli plan to ethnic cleanse Gaza and transfer Palestinians to Egypt is not new. This is an advanced stage in the Israeli plan to ethnic cleanse the 1.5 million Palestinians out of Gaza [e.g. see the video interview in English of the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, a year ago, on 18 Jan 08, calling for the Palestinians in Gaza to be transferred to the Sinai desert as a humanitarian gesture]. Those forced now to leave, under the pretext of a humanitarian gesture, will never again be allowed back [just like they have never been allowed back to the homes from which they were ethnic cleansed in 1948]. The Palestinian refugees, ethnic cleansed from Gaza, would continue to be hunted down by Israel, even if they would be later transferred further into the Sinai desert.
It appears that the ceasefire agreement with Egypt [part of the Israeli “unilateral” ceasefire due to start on 17 Jan, 2400 GMT] paved the way to the erection of the tents by Egyptian forces and that Egypt agreed to allow Israel to ethnic cleansed dozens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt, under the pretext of a humanitarian gesture.
Earlier this afternoon, PM Gordon Brown announced that injured children would be taken out of Gaza for medical treatment and food aid would be stepped up. IFY spoke with medics in the Egyptian Rafah,and they said that today the Egyptian soldiers rejected ALL the food they provided for Gaza, while on other days they allowed some food in [though in no way proportionate to the needs of 1.5 millions]. As for the medical treatment, that could be the cover story for the ethnic cleansing of dozens of thousands, especially as the tents are near the hospital
By last week, more than 40,000 people in Rafah have already been forced out of their homes by the day and night Israeli bombardment, making transfer easier as there is now no need to get them out of their houses, many of which are now bombed ruins. There’s nothing left for the Palestinians in Gaza [even the cemetery in Rafah was bombed] and they have been terrorised for so long, that it is hard to estimate how much more violence Israel would need to exercise to force them to leave Gaza
It is not anticipated that Israel would immediately ethnic 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, but that it would pursue its completion when it feels there are international circumstances that would allow it.
For further information and updates please contact Yael Kahn on +44 (0)7880 731 865 or Rob Langlands on +44 (0)7977 490415
Yael Kahn, Chair of IFY: +44 (0)7880 731 865
Rob Langlands, Secretary of IFY: +44 (0)7977 490415