War in Gaza: a new Nakba, the worst scenario

War in Gaza a new Nakba the worst scenario

Sarah is not 20 years old, but she knows war by heart. 2008, 2012, 2014, 2019. This young Palestinian in exile in Paris is content to give the years to talk about the Israeli bombings on her birthplace, Gaza. “With this war, I lost everything: my father, my childhood home, an entire city,” she says. “I don’t know what I will lose tomorrow. In Gaza, we experience a Nakba every day without END.” In his mouth, this word pops, over and over: Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic. An expression that entered common parlance to designate the exodus of more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, upon the creation of the State of Israel. A one-way trip, the story of which remains passed down from generation to generation.

Since October 7, civilians in Gaza have been experiencing their modern-day catastrophe. 1.4 million people are crowded together in the very south of the Palestinian enclave, in Rafah, in “inhumane” conditions, according to the WHO. To eradicate Hamas, the Netanyahu government repeats its desire to attack this area and asks civilians to evacuate. But to go where? To the north, Gaza is nothing but ruins and fighting; to the east stands the Israeli border and to the west the waves of the Mediterranean.

There remains the Sinai desert to the south, blocked by a wall with Egypt. “But do you think that a crowd of hundreds of thousands of bombed people will wait a long time before blowing up this gate?” asks Palestinian intellectual Elias Sanbar. “In a panic situation, this barrier would not last ten minutes.” Al-Sisi’s Egypt has rejected welcoming the Palestinians for months, citing its own economic crisis, the risk of terrorist infiltration and that of a new round of no return for the Gazans. Alas!, the scenario is taking shape: in recent weeks, the Egyptian authorities have erected enclosures surrounded by walls six meters high, a few kilometers from Rafah. Enough to contain several thousand Palestinian refugees.

The Israeli far right, an ally of Netanyahu, is campaigning in favor of this exodus in order to resolve the security problem in Gaza “once and for all”. A modern Nakba would only cause seventy-six more years of suffering, with no hope of peace. Urgently, the international community must use all its weight, all its pressure, to prevent this scenario and force the two camps into a lasting truce.