Palestine defenders this week condemned a proposal by an Israeli real estate developer specializing in the construction of illegal settlements to build beachfront homes for Jewish colonists over the bombed-out ruins of Gaza.
“A house on the beach is not a dream,” reads an advertisement published by Harey Zahav – an Israeli company notorious for building settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank – that drew international attention following last week’s Practical Preparation for Gaza Settlement Conference in Tel Aviv.
The ad depicts an artist’s rendering of luxury homes superimposed over an actual photograph of a Gaza neighborhood destroyed by Israeli attacks – which have killed nearly 20,000 people while displacing over 85% of the embattled strip’s 2.3 million people since early October.
An Israeli real estate company is already drawing up plans for settlements in the Gaza Strip.
"A house on the beach is not a dream!" the ad reads. Below, it says their employees are "expelling invaders."
Israel's attacks are not about "defense."
This is ethnic cleansing. pic.twitter.com/PPNKslaGET
— CODEPINK (@codepink) December 18, 2023
While the Israeli government funds settler organizations, Harey Zahav’s proposal is not believed to be state-supported. However, critics noted that Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel has drafted a plan to forcibly expel Gazans into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and that a separate proposal by the right-wing think tank Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy declared that “there is currently a unique and rare opportunity to evacuate the entire Gaza Strip.”
Such plans have been compared with the Nakba ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Arabs – by deadly violence and forced displacement – from Palestine during the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
“An Israeli real estate firm is already cashing in on genocide, churning out blueprints to build Israeli homes in Gaza on land leveled by bombs,” activist Sarah Wilkinson said Tuesday on social media.
Harey Zahav’s proposal comes amid statements by Israeli political and military leaders that critics say incite or advocate genocide of Palestinians. Evem prior to the Hamas-led attacks on October 7, numerous Israeli officials called for the recolonization of a Gaza Strip from which some or all of the Palestinian residents – around two-thirds of them the descendants of Nakba refugees – have been removed.
While Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, the besieged enclave is still considered occupied under international law.
Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.