UNRWA rejects new Nakba
Additionally, the United Nations, through the International Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA), has openly rejected to be involved in any plan that displaces Palestinians within or outside the Gaza Strip to avoid complicity in any new Nakba.
Nonetheless, as Israel's war continues, a form of social engineering is actively unfolding both inside and outside Gaza, signalling that displacement is indeed occurring.
Here are some key numbers:
Approximately 1.9 million out of 2.3 million inhabitants have been displaced from the northern to the southern part of the Gaza Strip. It's estimated that only about 300,000 remain in the north. Although the latter number might be an overestimation, it is also gradually decreasing due to Israeli strikes, the deteriorating living conditions in the north, and the shifting focus of international agencies to the south.
Egypt has established a camp in the Al-Mawasi area near Rafah. Initially featuring 200 tents, there are plans to expand it to accommodate around 20,000 people, with further expansions or additional camps near the Egyptian border under consideration. Some Western organisations experienced in setting up camps in northern Syria and near the Turkish border have started operations near the Gaza border.
Palestinians in Gaza are increasingly contacting relatives abroad to secure immigration visas and relocate to Western countries. Countries like Canada have begun easing visa processes and family reunification requests for those from Gaza.
Preliminary estimates suggest that around 200,000 people may relocate or migrate in the current circumstances. Should the conflict persist or reconstruction efforts face delays, this number is expected to increase via family unification abroad, as observed in previous conflicts.
Israel reportedly intends to create a buffer zone in the northern part of Gaza, which would involve depopulating the area. There are also plans to implement selective criteria for allowing residents to return north. Moreover, the focus of UN agencies, especially UNRWA, is shifting towards the south, indicating that for various reasons, the return of Gazans to the northern region will likely be challenging.
Between 70% and 80% of the northern region has been destroyed, further complicating the possibility of Gazans returning.
Donor countries and organisations will play a crucial role in the upcoming phase. By directing funding, these entities will effectively dictate their agendas in the Strip, determining geographical areas for funding or relief priorities.
This influence may lead to the transformation of temporary camps into permanent settlements, a common occurrence in this part of the world where the temporary often becomes permanent.