Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘Ethnic cleansing by other means’: Netanyahu spills truth behind US-built port in Gaza

Suspicions around the new US-proposed makeshift port off Gaza became more evident as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at using the port to deport Palestinians.

While speaking at a private meeting of the Knessett’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, Netanyahu said that there was ‘no obstacle’ to the Palestinians willing to leave the Gaza Strip to use the port facility, a Kan News journalist reported.

The proposed port

President Joe Biden has announced that the United States will build a temporary pier at Gaza coast to facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies to the besieged enclave.

Soon after the announcement, a US military ship carrying the equipment needed for the primary construction work was sent to Gaza, according to the US military’s Central Command.

As per the Pentagon’s plan, the construction of the dock could take up to 60 days and require more than 1,000 American troops to finish the job.

The makeshift pier includes two parts: 1) The floating barge to accept the goods. 2) The 550-metre-long floating causeway anchored to the shore.

The US military claims that the humanitarian supplies received at the barge will be moved to the causeway, from where they will be distributed to different parts of Gaza.

Ethnic cleansing by other means

There is a strange insistence from Israel, which is working on the port silently.

Why does the Israeli occupation, which uses starvation as a weapon against the residents of Gaza in the genocidal war, facilitate the construction of a port to bring in aid?

The proposal to build the port was met with discontent by Palestinians from the beginning. 

They have pointed out that the ultimate goal of the Israel-US nexus in the port project was their expulsion from the region.

“He never gave up his dream of a complete ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza,” tweeted Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, in response to Netanyahu’s comments.

Hisham Khreisat, a Jordanian military expert, told Anadolu Agency that there are ‘hidden objectives’ behind the plan to construct the port.

He said that it is a ‘humanitarian facade’ with an ulterior motive to facilitate mass voluntary migration to Europe.

The port will enable the ‘displacement of Gazans and their deportation to Europe,’ he added.

Analysts observe the possibility of Israel using the port to control every single entrance point to the Strip and eventually shutting down the Rafah crossing with Egypt completely after the total invasion of the city.

In other words, the real long-term aim of Tel Aviv is to proceed to the next stage of military occupation, gaining 100% control over Gaza’s borders and ending Palestinian sovereignty.

The port scheme seems to be an unnecessary workaround, while the humanitarian crisis in Gaza could be easily solved if Israel opens land crossings to the enclave, which is surrounded by separation walls on three sides.

Why build a port when aid is metres away?

Aid is metres away in Rafah, and can enter just by a word from Israel, but the occupation is hell-bent on backing the dock plan.

Even before the war, a minimum of 500 aid trucks daily were required to meet the needs of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

With no markets functioning, that changed after October 7. 

Even in February, only a daily average of 90 trucks entered the enclave, and the number of trucks was as low as seven or nine on some days.

For the first two weeks after the war started, no aid trucks entered Gaza. 

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), this has created a backlog of 5,000 trucks in the increasing aid deficit which is yet to be dealt with.

“Any effort to bring in more humanitarian aid into Gaza to help the desperate people is absolutely welcome,” Juliette Touma at the UNRWA told Al Jazeera. 

“However, there is a more efficient, cheaper, quicker way to get aid into Gaza, and that is by road,” she said.

While Israel boasts of the time-consuming port, human rights campaigners say not even a day should be wasted in providing aid as Palestinians are facing famine-like conditions.

“How long does it take to build a seaport? People are starving to death now. When people reach this level of hunger, they have hours in which an intervention might help them. They don’t have weeks,” said Meg Sattler, CEO of the international nongovernmental organisation Ground Truth Solutions.

Biden’s attempt to save face

Apart from the ‘image-making’ stunt aimed at clearing the complicity charge against the US in Israel’s genocidal war, the Biden administration looks for additional domestic gains.

The Gaza port project will allow the US government to create the impression that Washington is doing something to solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

It is worth noting here that a group of more than 100 donors for the Democratic Party has sent a letter this week to Biden, warning him that his “unconditional support” for Israel’s war on Gaza is consolidating a strong opposition against him.

The letter further stated that the increase in public anger might lead to a loss in the upcoming presidential election.

As the inhumane siege and the genocide complete six months, the Palestinian health ministry says around one in three children are now acutely malnourished and two in 10,000 are dying of starvation.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,988 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,188 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

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