Israel Plans To Keep Gaza Strip Split in Half for a Year

by | Mar 11, 2024

Israel Plans To Keep Gaza Strip Split in Half for a Year

by | Mar 11, 2024

Gaza Destruction

FILE PHOTO: The ruins of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes are seen in Gaza City. (Credit: AP / Fatima Shbair)

Israeli officials said they would keep Gaza divided by a military highway for a year. The corridor will be buffered by a “demilitarized zone” and will give Israel control over the travel of Palestinians. Tel Aviv says the regional highway will make ground raids in the Strip easier.

CNN confirmed the completion of the Netzarim Corridor through interviews with Israeli officials and by reviewing satellite imagery. “The east-west road, which has been under construction for weeks, now stretches from the Gaza-Israeli border area across the entire roughly 4-mile-wide strip, dividing northern Gaza, including Gaza City, from the south of the enclave,” the outlet explained.

Israel is destroying the structures to the north and south of the highway, leveling the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital located some 1,200 feet from the corridor. The Israel Defense Forces say they have used a large number of mines and explosives to demolish the surrounding area.

Lt. Col. Shimon Orkabi, commander of Battalion “601” of the Combat Engineering Corps, explained that all structures in the buffer zone would be flattened. He told Channel 14 News that the remaining buildings in the area will “probably disappear soon.”

The buffer zone will extend one kilometer to the north and south of the highway.

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Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli said the corridor will “make it easier” for the Israel Defense Forces to launch raids throughout the Strip. Chikli has called for the potential resettlement of Gaza by Israelis. The Netzarim Corridor is named after a settlement that once existed in Gaza.

The highway has three lanes and is built for heavy military equipment such as tanks. Additionally, it will allow the IDF to control the movements of Palestinians in the Strip. Over the past five months, the IDF has forced nearly the entire population of Gaza out of the northern half of the enclave. About two-thirds of Palestinians are packed into the southernmost border city of Rafah.

The White House has requested that Tel Aviv allow Palestinians to return to their homes in the northern half of the Strip. Israel has severely limited all travel to the area, including preventing aid convoys from reaching the hundreds of thousands of starving people still living there.

The creation of the Netzarim Corridor is part of a multi-step Israeli plan for a second highway and buffer zone that would split southern Gaza into two pieces, with the proposed Sufa Corridor intended to divide Khan Younis from Rafah. The IDF has not publicly adopted this portion of the proposal.

Chikli, who posted the plan on X, said Palestinians would not be allowed to return home until all the tunnels under Gaza were destroyed. However, the buffer zones are giving Israel the ability to control the movement of Palestinians and aid transfers, and provide an excuse to destroy a significant amount of civilian infrastructure.

As multiple high-ranking Israeli officials have explicitly called for the ethnic cleansing of the Strip, the corridor could act as cover to prevent Palestinians from returning to their homes in Gaza.

The Guardian reported in December that the IDF destruction of buildings could amount to  “domicide” – or a method of ethnic cleansing that seeks to make a region uninhabitable.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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