The term ethnic cleansing refers to various policies of forcibly removing people of one ethnic group. At one end of the spectrum, it is virtually indistinguishable from forced emigration and population transfer, while at the other it merges with deportation and genocide…. The term “ethnic cleansing” has come to mean the displacement or expulsion from a territory of one ethnic group by another. The displacement is usually forcible, though there are examples of voluntary or compensated ethnic cleansing. The 20th century has seen numerous cases, particularly in Europe and the Middle East.
At the most general level, however, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the forced expulsion of an “undesirable” population from a given territory due to religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these.
I note that of the many historical examples given by Wikipedia, most involve a relatively non-violent relocation of an ethnic or religious group. The only disingenuousness here is on the part of those attempting to apologize for the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza; the primary connection with genocide is that it is sometimes used as a euphemism for it.
The fact that most apologists for this most recent ethnic cleansing are ignorant of Greek, Finnish, Indian, Italian, Pakistani and Turkish history, among others, does not change the fact that the Israeli government is doing precisely what at least 30 non-genocidal governments have done since World War II.
As to the aspect of the definition which refers to “one group by another”, it must be remembered that Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government are secular, while the settlers are religious Jews.