December 10, 2023

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for Palestinians to voluntarily emigrate to Western countries in response to an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal by Likud MK Danny Danon and Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak. The op-ed called on Western countries to accept refugees from Gaza, but Smotrich believes that voluntary relocation is the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region.

Smotrich emphasized that many of the residents of Gaza are fourth and fifth generations of 1948 refugees, and instead of being rehabilitated like other refugees around the world, they have been held hostage in poverty and overcrowding. He believes that this has bred hatred towards Israel and Jews, and led the population in Gaza to believe that the only solution is the destruction of Israel.

He also highlighted the economic and diplomatic challenges faced by Gaza, stating that the only solution to end the suffering of both Jews and Arabs is for countries around the world to accept Gaza residents, along with support and economic aid.

Contrary to Smotrich’s views, Danon and Ben Barak’s op-ed did not call for Palestinians to emigrate, but rather urged Western countries to accept refugees who wanted to relocate. They stressed the dangers faced by the residents of Gaza due to attacks from Hamas and the lack of tangible help from UN resolutions.

The two MKs suggested that countries around the world, particularly Western countries, accept limited numbers of refugees who want to leave and create well-structured and internationally coordinated relocation programs. They emphasized the moral imperative for the world to demonstrate compassion and help Gazans attain a more prosperous future.