Move Rafah civilians to floating islands, says former Israeli security chief

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel agrees with the prime minister that the last remaining part of Hamas’ military force must then be destroyed in the city.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel has to move all the internal refugees now in Rafah to floating islands before taking on the last four Hamas brigades entrenched there, said a former National Security Council head in an interview on 103FM Thursday.

“The IDF is about to enter Rafah,” Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel told host Arel Segal. “Before it attacks Rafah, it needs to move the 1.2 million refugees who are there either [to other places in the Strip] or to some floating islands…. I think it should have happened a week or two ago,” he said.

It is incumbent on Israel to do so because “the Egyptians don’t want them to come to the fence with Egypt,” he said, and “the Americans don’t want us to attack first, so that there won’t be a humanitarian disaster.”

Rafah is on the border with Egypt, but Cairo has steadfastly refused to allow any Palestinian refugees into its territory, even temporarily in order to save lives while the IDF finishes off the last major military force that Hamas has.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that a ground incursion is absolutely necessary and that the government knows how to get the civilians out first, but the U.S. has rejected the plan it has seen, saying that it wasn’t credible.

The Biden administration has gone as far as saying that there are alternatives that could obtain the same objective of destroying Hamas without a full IDF offensive in Rafah. It will present them to an Israeli delegation that is going to Washington in the next few days.

Nagel agreed with the prime minister’s assessment rather than that of the Americans.

“There are 24 battalions of Hamas, we destroyed 18 to 20 of them,” he noted. “We need to destroy all 24.”

Security of the Gaza Strip must also stay completely in Israeli hands for the foreseeable future, as Netanyahu has stated as well.

“After that we need to continue working underground and above the ground, for years, just like it was in [2002’s] Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin,” Nagel said. “Until today… there are still nests of terrorism in Jenin, so whoever thinks that there will be no terrorists after we destroy Hamas in Rafah is wrong.”

“The fight against terrorism will take place for [years], but if the IDF controls security in Gaza,” he continued, “it will be able to enter and exit as it does in Judea and Samaria, which will be much better.”

Jenin is a major center of terror in the Palestinian Authority-held territory in Judea and Samaria, and the IDF has gone into the city many times on arrest raids to detain wanted men and prevent terrorist attacks in real time.

On Wednesday, four terrorists were killed in an airstrike while they drove in a car in the city’s adjacent refugee camp. One of them was the commander of the Jenin Battalion, and another was a senior commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.