December 10, 2023

Palestinians are outraged at statements made by several Israeli officials calling for a voluntary emigration of Gazans. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Tuesday that Gaza could not survive as an independent entity and that it would be better for Palestinians living there to leave for other countries. Smotrich said he supported a call by two members of the Israeli Parliament who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, which called for “countries around the world to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate.” Dimitri Diliani, the spokesperson of the Democratic Reformist faction within Fatah, told The Media Line that “the Palestinian people, having endured the catastrophes of 1948 and 1967, continue to live through the horrors of forced displacement by Israel.” According to Diliani, “In the face of the profound genocide unfolding in Gaza, it is essential to reject any notion of ‘displacement’ when the civilian population is subjected to a genocidal bombardment by Israel.” Israeli lawmakers Danny Danon and Ram Ben-Barak published a comment piece in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting moving some Gazans to nations that will accept them. “Hamas’s unprovoked terrorist attack has endangered not only Israel but the more than two million people who live in the Gaza Strip,” wrote Danon and Ben-Barak, whose op-ed criticized the UN for “doing nothing tangible to help Gaza’s residents” and urged the international community to “explore potential solutions to help civilians caught in the crisis.” However, according to Ahmed Rafiq Awad, this solution is not humane and is manipulation. Smotrich called earlier this month for security zones to be set up around Jewish settlements in the West Bank, keeping Palestinian farmers away during the olive harvest season. Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, during which Hamas members killed around 1,280 people and kidnapped about 240 more, according to Israeli authorities. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and launching strikes on Gaza, which has killed 11,240 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 4,630 children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.