Latest figures from Euro-Med Monitor estimate that at least 1,900,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israel’s renewed onslaught on Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed expelling Palestinians from Gaza during a Likud party meeting this week, Israeli media reported.
Netanyahu mentioned the “voluntary migration” of Gazans from their homeland in a closed-door meeting of Likud lawmakers, according to Israel Hayom.
The Israeli premier was quoted as saying, “our problem is the countries that are willing to absorb [the Palestinians], and we are working on it”.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have repeatedly rejected the notion of Palestinians abandoning their land.
“It is important that the (Palestinian) people remain steadfast and present on their land,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on October 14.
The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Secretary General, Jan Egeland, warned in a news release on Tuesday that such rhetoric, if forcibly actioned, could amount to a war crime.
“The forcible transfer and deportation of a significant population across borders, lacking any guarantees of return, would constitute a serious breach of international law, amounting to an atrocity crime,” Egeland said.
A Middle East Monitor report added that Danny Danon suggested during the Likud party meeting that Israel should establish a committee “to ensure that anyone who wants to move to a third country can do that”.
This isn’t the first instance of such rhetoric emerging from Israel.
On November 14, Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of Israel’s far-right National Religious Party–Religious Zionism party, said in a post via Facebook that other nations should take Palestinian refugees as this was “the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region”.
“A cell with a small area like the Gaza Strip without natural resources and independent sources of livelihood has no chance to exist independently,” the far-right leader’s post added.
Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian National Initiative’s General Secretary, took to X to respond, saying that Smotrich’s comments unveiled the expansionist aspirations of Israel’s government.
“Netanyahu himself said in the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza that all Gazans must evict their homes,” Barghouti said on November 14.
“Ethnic cleansing is a war crime and it is done by bombarding unprotected civilian population,” his post concluded.