Thursday, January 04, 2024

Last summer, 29% of Gazans wanted to emigrate. The US calls Israelis who agree with them "irresponsible."

Times of Israel reported: 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s two senior far-right partners endorsed the rebuilding of settlements in the Gaza Strip and the encouraging of “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians on Monday.

Speaking during their parties’ respective faction meetings in the Knesset, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich presented the migration of Palestinian civilians as a solution to the long-running conflict and as a prerequisite for securing the stability necessary to allow residents of southern Israel to return to their homes.

The war presents an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza,” Ben Gvir told reporters and members of his far-right Otzma Yehudit party, calling such a policy “a correct, just, moral and humane solution.”

The “correct solution” to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “to encourage the voluntary migration of Gaza’s residents to countries that will agree to take in the refugees,” Smotrich told members of his Religious Zionism party
I'm no fan of Smotrich or Ben Gvir. But what on Earth is wrong with allowing Gazans who want to emigrate to do so?

Not involuntary "transfer." Not Meir Kahane's plan to ship Arabs out on trucks. This is simply to allow those who want to leave to do so.

We know that hundreds of Gazans have risked their lives to reach Europe by boat. Obviously there is a desire by many to leave the sector. 

The PCPSR poll of Palestinians from last June found that 29% of Gazans want to emigrate. 

The United States rejects recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza. This rhetoric is 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.

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. That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world.
If nearly a third of Gazans want to move elsewhere, is that irresponsible? Obviously not. But somehow when far-Right lawmakers in Israel agree with them,it becomes irresponsible.

Gaza is crowded and poor. Without a drastic change, it has a dim future. Ambitious Palestinians have been emigrating around the world since 1948. Many have established themselves and become successful. What is wrong with that?

 Obviously Smotrich and Ben Gvir would be happy if 100% of Gazans would move elsewhere. But for all their faults, they are not advocating throwing the Palestinians into the sea, as Arabs have been threatening the Jews for 75 years. And neither are any of the other Israelis who have floated the idea of voluntary resettlement of Gazans to elsewhere in the world. 

No one would be too upset if Saudi Arabia offered Israeli Jews a million dollars to move elsewhere. Nearly one in three Gazans don't even need a monetary incentive - they'd move for free if only a country would let them in to become citizens. 

Something that would be considered human rights in any other context is  considered vaguely racist when Jews support it. And that is the real bigotry. 

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