Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is advocating for the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians in Gaza, calling it the “right humanitarian solution” for the region. His comments were criticized as supporting “ethnic cleansing” by Palestinian officials.
Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon and former Mossad deputy director Ram Ben-Barak published a comment piece in The Wall Street Journal suggesting moving some of Gaza’s population to nations that will accept them. Smotrich welcomed this initiative, stating that it is the only solution to end the suffering of both Jews and Arabs.
Palestinian officials and Mustafa Barghouti criticized these comments, calling the Israeli government’s policy and intentions into question. They also referenced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous lobbying efforts to convince European leaders to help evacuate Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt.
In March, Smotrich received backlash for his comments about the Palestinian people, and in their recent article, Danon and Ben-Barak proposed creating internationally coordinated relocation programs for Gaza residents seeking to relocate.
The majority of Palestinians in Gaza are descendants of those displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Their potential permanent uprooting is considered a war crime under international law.