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The Israeli government is trying to convince Egypt and the international community of the need to accept hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza into the country.
This is reported by the New York Times, citing its sources. According to the paper, which cited “six senior foreign diplomats,” Israel has been trying to build “international support” in recent weeks, with the idea of the Palestinians going there at least for the duration of the war.
Tel Aviv is trying to present the idea as a humanitarian initiative that could save civilian lives. For days, however, politicians from the ruling coalition of conservatives, far-right and ultra-religious people have been increasingly calling for such a step – in the name of civilian safety or as a permanent “solution” to the conflict.
Don’t make it permanent
Egypt rejects resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, through the Rafah border crossing. This is partly for security reasons (Cairo is fighting an Islamist insurgency in North Sinai), partly out of concern that such a migration could become permanent, damaging the Palestinian national cause. In Israel’s other neighboring countries, Jordan and Lebanon, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been permanently displaced – more than 700,000 fled or were driven from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.
After the publication, Jordan warned that such actions could be tantamount to war. Egypt, for its part, would not want to be complicit in such an exodus campaign.
Such considerations have been expressed by most of Israel’s interlocutors on the subject, including the United States and Great Britain. They see a risk both of the Palestinians being left out of their homeland forever and of destabilizing Egypt.
The idea in Netanyahu’s office
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s team declined to comment. Israel has not publicly stated that it wants the Palestinians to leave through the Egyptian border.
At the same time, in the early days of the war, a document was drawn up by the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, which allowed the emigration of Palestinians in the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt as a better option for the future of Gaza.
The New York Times notes that Netanyahu’s allies, including from his own party, have publicly called for the transfer of scores of Gazans to Egypt and other countries in the region in order to reduce civilian casualties in the Strip. One of the newspaper’s interlocutors, MP Danny Danon, https://twitter.com/ArielKallner/status/1710769363119141268 just to protect civilians; however, hardliners also in “Likud” talk straight about expulsion.
Last month, however, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said it was better for Israel to send the Palestinians temporarily to the Negev desert, on its territory.