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‘Just send them all to Gaza!’

Questioning whether deportations and making life even harder for Palestinians can be an effective deterrent

I read with increasing dismay, though no surprise, about the prime minister’s intent to force the families of terrorists to Gaza. Not content with destroying their homes, it is now apparently in the national interest to export the families of terrorists to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

I wonder whether the prime minister will now have to condemn himself for inciting violence among Palestinians, for, more surely than any Palestinian television channel, this policy will ignite greater unrest and lead to more of the very acts of terror Netanyahu says he is working so hard to deal with.

This latest measure can be seen as nothing other than a sign of his desperation at the catastrophic failure of any of his supposed policies at countering terror. Far from countering it, he is managing to stir it up better than any leader of Hamas or Islamic Jihad ever could.

Even more disquieting is the attempt by the prime minister to apply Orwellian wordplay to the Geneva Convention. Presumably, he was referring to Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention when he said the following: 

I think the intention there regarded relocation of entire populations,” he continued. “They interpret it as relocating one person or another. I am certain this was not the intent of those who legislated the conventions. But that’s how they interpret it in the world and, unfortunately, that’s how they interpret it here.”

Fortunately, the protocol is written in such a way as to not require “interpretation” to anyone with even the most basic grasp of logic. Here is what the Geneva Convention actually says;

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

The use of the word “individual” rather clears up Netanyahu’s confusion as to whether the authors of the Geneva convention meant…individuals. The rest of the text goes on to outline when movement of individuals and whole populations can be justified. At no point does it state that it is permitted to do so as a punitive measure. One rather hopes the reason the Geneva Convention exists is precisely to prevent such practices. Furthermore, the final point of the same article makes it rather ironic that Bibi would be using Article 49 at all, seeing as how it says:

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

It would appear Israel is in breach of it, anyway.

The bottom line is that neither home demolition nor forced expulsion nor summary execution will make Palestinians love Israelis. The more evil he forces upon them, the more they will protest on the streets of their own cities and the more people will come out of the West Bank to stab Israeli citizens to death. Unless he thinks that happens in a vacuum. In which case, why does he think deportations will be any more of a deterrent than anything else?

Netanyahu says; “There is one thing we have not managed to do,” and he’s right, but that one thing is not the deportation of people who may or may not have something to do with the death of Israelis; that one thing he hasn’t managed to do is curb the appetite to cause Palestinian suffering among his own MKs.

Israel is not going to be able to shoot or deport its way out of accepting the simple fact that Palestinians want to be free of Israeli control. He needs to be taking measures to ease the lives of Palestinians not make them harder. But he can’t and he won’t because to do so would place him on a path that will lead to the creation of a Palestinian state and an acceptance that the West Bank will never be a part of the State of Israel.

About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada