Revealed: An Israeli businessman’s post-genocide plan for Gaza

A general view of a tent city in the southern area of Khan Younis, built by Egypt and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, to shelter thousands of Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Mohammed Talatene DPA via ZUMA Press / APA images

An Israeli entrepreneur who participated in the genocide in Gaza has pitched a plan to a European firm for the territory’s future.

The Gaza Strip – which the plan assumes would be conquered and controlled by Israel – would be divided into two zones. In the northern zone, Palestinian collaborators would be permitted to live in relative comfort, while those who refuse to serve and obey their Israeli masters would be banished to a southern “area of terror.”

The Electronic Intifada has seen a copy of this so-called “day-after plan.”

The pitch exposes the frightening colonial mindset and condescendingly racist view of Palestinians pervasive in Israel. It also reveals an underlying desire to conquer and control every inch of Palestine, including Gaza.

The plan was submitted by Or Bokobza, an Israeli reserve officer in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando unit, who was deployed in Gaza for several weeks during October and November.

Bokobza lives in New York City, but was in Israel on 7 October when the Palestinian resistance group Hamas led a military operation that destroyed the Israeli army’s Gaza Division, which is responsible for enforcing Israel’s siege on the territory.

Bokobza “immediately reported for duty and was deployed to root out the Hamas fighters that day,” according to a glowing profile in The Wall Street Journal.

Bokobza, who spent eight years in Israel’s army, far longer than the mandatory service requirement, has also participated in “every war since 2005.”

He is also the chief executive of Venn, a company that makes software for large-scale residential landlords to manage, monitor and extract maximum rents and revenue from tenants. It has received $100 million in venture capital, according to The Wall Street Journal.

At least 15 percent of his employees also enlisted as reservists with Israel’s military after the genocidal war on Gaza was declared.

Now Bokobza undoubtedly hopes to profit from the destruction and slaughter – although his proposal is pitched as good for Israel and even good for Palestinians in Gaza.

Another Israeli businessman Eran Haggiag is also named in the proposal, The Electronic Intifada learned. Haggiag is a co-founder of Bokobza’s company Venn.

Post-genocide dreams

Bokobza’s proposal calls for the total destruction of northern Gaza and its reconstruction as a managed colony – Gaza 2.0, where Palestinians who behave according to the rules set by Israel will be allowed to stay. Those who misbehave will be expelled to a hellscape in southern Gaza, or as he calls it, Gaza 1.0 – the “area of terror.”

The plan reads as a cross between a Silicon Valley elevator pitch and the script for a sci-fi horror movie.

But to the extent it purports to be a real plan, it is not the first of its kind. In the early 1990s, when the Oslo accords were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, media hyped that Gaza would turn into a “Singapore on the Mediterranean.”

Such notions were revived again after Israel redeployed its occupation forces to the perimeter of Gaza in 2005 and then began imposing an ever-tightening siege.

The condition behind these pie-in-the-sky promises – whether in Gaza or the West Bank – has always been that Palestinians surrender any hopes of self-determination and instead settle for economic crumbs while Israel retains all real power over their lives.

In the event, under the guise of the “peace process,” Israel began to isolate Gaza and systematically “de-develop” its economy, as scholar Sara Roy describes. At the same time it has accelerated its colonization of the West Bank, corralling Palestinians into ever-shrinking islands of land surrounded by a sea of Israeli settler-colonies.

Bokobza’s vision is in this tradition, albeit with the nightmare softened by the cheerful language of a real estate brochure and sprinkled with upbeat tech charlatanry.

“A week ago I stood in Gaza watching the sunrise over a land destroyed by conflict,” says his proposal submitted to the European firm in late November.

“Gaza is a truly beautiful place, with incredible views, beaches and full of potential,” he says of the killing fields where thousands of dead Palestinians still lie under the rubble of their homes and in makeshift mass graves.

“On 7 October, I put on my army uniform and in that moment I switched from being Or the entrepreneur to Or the soldier and I immediately started to think like a soldier again,” he says.

“You take orders and you execute. You can question the how but not the why, not the big picture or the strategy, I realized that we all put on our army uniform on 7 October and started thinking like soldiers, especially our leaders.”

While participating in the genocide and the bombing and shelling campaign described to be “among the deadliest and most destructive in recent history,” Bokobza dreamed of what to do on the ruins “with the help of the US and certain Arab states” in order to serve Israel’s pipe dream of subduing Palestinian resistance once and for all.

His plan would permanently partition northern and southern Gaza respectively into “the area of hope and the area of terror.”

Bokobza hoped Israel would start implementing the plan as soon as December 2023 and begin turning Gaza into “the poster boy of hope for the Palestinian people.” But that assumed that Israel would quickly defeat the Palestinian resistance and gain control of all or most of Gaza.

That has not happened, however, as the resistance continues to inflict heavy losses on the Israeli invaders in every part of Gaza.

Meanwhile, according to the plan, “the south will serve as a transition area for those awaiting relocation” – an apparent endorsement of ethnic cleansing of those Palestinians who cannot prove their loyalty and utility to Israel.

Residents of this imaginary plan would be recruited “through inspiring brochures that we will drop in the millions from the sky,” which will contain plan details and application procedures.

This plan does not explain how Palestinians displaced, starving, dying of thirst, living with untreated injuries, illnesses and trauma, and cut off from communications, will submit their “applications,” or why they would even consider trusting Israel.

“Applicants will commit to not having any association with terror groups and their residency will be revoked if they do,” Bokobza writes.

Bokobza describes a digital application process and a committee to determine who could live in the proposed Gaza 2.0 made up of Saudis, Emiratis, Americans, Israelis and Palestinian collaborators.

“One mistake and you’re out to the old Gaza without a way to come back for a few years,” Bokobza says, bringing together all the mindsets common to a landlord, prison warden and colonizer.

Helping Joe Biden

Bokobza is not shy that his motivation is entirely Israel’s benefit.

“This is not altruism for the Palestinian people,” he writes, adding that his plan would be the biggest blow to Hamas.

He calls for the Israeli government to begin implementing the project initially, before turning it over to Palestinian collaborators under Israeli supervision – similar to the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

Bokobza also hopes that a plan marketed as helping Palestinians will result in “changing sentiment towards Israel in the international community” for the better.

Headlines would, he hopes, “turn to ‘Israel brought a solution’ instead of ‘Israel kills children.’”

Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza during its genocide. The United Nations has acknowledged that most victims are women and children.

Bokobza also markets his plan as an effort to bring “a success story” that will aid US President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

Destroy everything

Realizing Bokobza’s terrifying vision would begin with the total destruction of all buildings still standing in northern Gaza.

“We have taken over northern Gaza, most of the population evacuated south, we are eliminating all of Hamas’ infrastructure,” he writes.

“We will eliminate any infrastructure in northern Gaza that limits us from building the Gaza of the future.”

He repeatedly calls for total destruction.

“Demolition: Complete demolition of existing structures in Gaza City, paving the way for a fresh start and the construction of a robust infrastructure.”

On reflection, perhaps the closest analogy for this cynical and dystopian vision is Theresienstadt, the Nazi concentration camp that the German government used as a transit camp for Czech Jews who would be deported to death and labor camps across German-occupied Europe.

In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was described as a “spa town,” where elderly Jews could “retire” in safety.