Netanyahu’s office is reportedly seeking the Democratic Republic of Congo’s approval to accept “thousands” of Palestinians from Gaza, Zman Israel reported on Wednesday.
The United Kingdom has “firmly rejected any suggestion” over the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza on Wednesday following controversial remarks by Israeli ministers to force the population out of the besieged Palestinian enclave.
“Gaza is Occupied Palestinian Territory and will be part of a future Palestinian state. The UK firmly rejects any suggestion of the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza. We share the concerns of our allies and partners that Gazans should not be subject to forcible displacement or relocation from Gaza,” a spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office said in an online statement.
The British statement came after Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, called for the “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians on Monday during a Knesset meeting.
The Israeli ministers had advocated for the forced displacement of Palestinians as a solution to the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza and to enable Israelis’ return to illegal settlements. Ben Gvir told reporters that the war is an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza.”
The comments came as Israel continued its genocide in Gaza, killing 22,313 Palestinians and injuring 57,296 others, according to the latest figures by Gaza’s authorities.
The U.S. State Department Spokesperson, Mathew Miller, had issued a statement on Tuesday voicing Washington’s rejection of the Israeli ministers’ remarks. Miller described the statements as “inflammatory and irresponsible.”
“We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the Government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government. They should stop immediately,” Miller said.
“We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel,” he added.
The U.S. has staunchly backed Israel’s war on Gaza under the pretext of self-defence, providing it with arms while rejecting ceasefires.
Washington had bypassed Congress for the second time on December 29 to approve an estimated $147.5 million in weapons for Israel.
The U.S. is already Israel’s largest military backer and pumps an annual $3.8 billion into its economy.
The UK, also one of Israel’s staunchest allies, has long rejected an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Britain was complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine through the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which led to the establishment of Israel as a “birthright” of Jews.
By 1948, the Israeli occupiers had forced out hundreds of thousands of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland in what is widely known as the “nakba”, or catastrophe. To date, the UK has yet to formally apologise to Palestinians for the Balfour Declaration.
Israel’s plans to forcibly expel Palestinians
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office is reportedly seeking the Democratic Republic of Congo’s approval to accept “thousands” of Palestinians from Gaza, Zman Israel, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site, reported on Wednesday.
Netanyahu’s office reportedly moved forward with its plans by holding talks with the DRC among other countries to accept Palestinians.
DRC is mired in one of the world’s deadliest crises, where renewed conflict with rebels from the March 23rd Movement has raged on.
There are 6.1 million internally displaced people in DRC, according to the United Nations.
“Congo will be willing to take in migrants, and we’re in talks with others,” a senior source in the security cabinet told the Israeli outlet.
On Sunday, Netanyahu called for Israeli control of the Philadelphi Corridor, a land that marks the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
“The Philadelphi Corridor – or to put it more correctly, the southern stoppage point [of Gaza] – must be in our hands,” Netanyahu told a press conference.
“It must be shut. It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarisation that we seek,” he added.
The Philadelphi Corridor was initially a buffer zone under the Egypt-Israel 1979 treaty that ended the Israeli occupation of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The zone aimed at preventing weapons from reaching Palestinians in Gaza, which was under Israel’s occupation at the time.
Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 granted Egypt complete control over Philadelphi. The corridor then became the besieged enclave’s portal with the outside world under the Israeli blockade of 2007.
The latest Israeli attempts at expanding its control over Palestinian land and intensifying its chokehold over Gaza echoes other previous plans that had surfaced since the start of the war on October 7.
A 10-page leaked document dated October 13, 2023, by Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence, revealed Israeli plans to forcibly expel Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt’s Sinai. The document recommended that Israel establish tent cities and permanent ones in the northern Sinai.
The Israeli war has internally displaced 1.9 million out of the Strip’s 2.2 million population, all of which are under imminent risk of famine, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Neighbouring Jordan has also voiced its concerns over a possible refugee crisis as a result of the Israeli war on Gaza.
In November, Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said his country would consider displacements of Palestinians from Gaza as “a declaration of war.”
“Any displacements or creating the conditions that would lead to it, Jordan will consider it a declaration of war and constitutes a material breach of the peace treaty,” Khasawneh said, referring to the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, known as Wadi Araba.
Jordan is home to the world’s largest Palestinian diaspora of more than six million, many of whom have Jordanian citizenship, mainly due to the geographic distance between both countries.