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Supporting the ‘Voluntary Migration’ of Palestinians from Gaza is Complicity in the Crime of Forcible Transfer
Supporting the ‘Voluntary Migration’ of Palestinians from Gaza is Complicity in the Crime of Forcible Transfer

After 83 days of the Israeli genocidal war on Gaza, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people clearly continues to be the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime’s ultimate goal. The Israeli Likud Party is pushing for a new bill proposal that aims to forcibly transfer Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and this bill includes pressuring third states to host Palestinian refugees as “immigrants”. Under the guise of encouraging “voluntary migration” for humanitarian purposes, this proposal further includes establishing a specialized committee that ensures every Palestinian who “intends” to “immigrate” to other states, can successfully do so.

When the choice is between death, starvation, dehydration, disease, and displacement or leaving the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have no real choice when leaving, and there is nothing voluntary about it. In fact, this is the very definition of a coercive environment. The systematic creation of an unbearable and widespread coercive environment has already resulted in the internal displacement of over 80 percent of the 2.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli genocidal war has devastated every aspect of Palestinian’s lives: destroying over 65,000 homes; damaging 305 schools; massively targeting over 130 medical facilities; and forcing them to evacuate their homes and cities, leaving them starved, thirsty, sick, wounded and exposed to disease. Furthermore, there have been no efforts made by Israel to ensure proper evacuation and establish safe shelters.  In fact, Israeli forces have done the opposite, such as: routinely bombing shelters and areas it demanded Palestinian civilians to evacuate to; and shelling and surveilling the Salah Ad Deen Road connecting the north of Gaza to the south, making the passage incredibly difficult and repeatedly attacking Palestinians travelling along it.

The proposed plan is supported by many Israeli officials and Knesset members. On 14 November, the Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Yoel Smotrich published a Facebook post that welcomed the initiative that other states should host Palestinians, presenting it as “the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region.” The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, claims that the “problem” that he is currently working on is convincing states to ‘absorb’ Palestinians. In a deceptively innocent policy, the Canadian Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, requested that his ministry “be as flexible as it can” to reunite Palestinians in Canada with their family members from Gaza. The 2024 hopeful Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, prefers that Qatar, Iran and Turkey host them after telling Netanyahu to “finish them”. Danny Dannon, Likud member and supporter of the new plan declared that the Arab countries should take Palestinian refugees from Gaza.

Regardless, supporting or encouraging such an initiative signifies third state complicity in forcible transfer, which is a War Crime and a Crime Against Humanity, even if under ‘humanitarian intentions’, because the Israeli perpetuated coercive environment does not allow for free will or true consent.     

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Internally Displaced Persons, Gaviria Betancur: “Israel is seeking to permanently alter the composition of Gaza’s population with ever-expanding evacuation orders and widespread and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in southern areas of the besieged enclave.” She also added that Israel’s actions amount to the War Crimes of collective punishment and forcible transfer.

Any state that supports, initiates, and/or facilitates displacement or transfer in the Gaza Strip is complicit in the Ongoing Nakba of the Palestinian people and the crimes of forced displacement and transfer, even if this transfer is done with claimed humanitarian goals.

The only way to end Palestinian displacement and transfer without being rendered complicit is through:

  1. Ensuring an immediate and permanent ceasefire, that includes the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip;
  2. Unconditional and unrestricted aid, including support to UN agencies, especially UNRWA to provide safe shelters;
  3. Lifting the 17-year blockade from the Gaza Strip.