Benjamin Netanyahu holds a map of the Middle East without Palestine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a map of "The New Middle East" without Palestine during his September 22, 2023, address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Palestinians Say Netanyahu 'Confessions' Reveal Truth of 'Genocidal War' in Gaza

The Foreign Ministry said that the Israeli prime minister's push for what he terms "voluntary migration" shows that ethnic cleansing of the besieged enclave is the real goal of the ongoing bombing and ground invasion.

Amid a ramping up of bombardments and military ground operations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he was working toward what he referred to as a "voluntary migration" of Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli newspaper Hayom Daily reported.

"Our problem is the countries that are willing to absorb (them), and we are working on it," he said, according to a translation from the Anadolu Agency.

The remarks earned a swift condemnation from Palestinian leadership.

In a statement posted on social media, the Foreign Ministry said that "frank and clear confessions reveal the truth about the goals of the genocidal war led by Netanyahu against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," according to The Siasat Daily.

The ministry called for "a courageous international stance to immediately stop the war on the Gaza Strip and stop the crime of ethnic cleansing and displacement before it is too late."

It further said that "Netanyahu's confessions regarding the displacement of our people is a new blow to the countries supporting him in the genocidal war on Gaza Strip."

Hamas, meanwhile, said that Netanyahu's plan "would prolong the aggression," the Anadolu Agency reported.

"The Palestinian people will not allow to pass any plan that aims to obliterate their cause or to get them out of their lands and sanctities," the group said.

Netanyahu's remarks came during a Likud faction meeting, according to Hayom Daily. The prime minister was responding to a statement by Member of the Knesset Shani Danon.

"The world is already discussing this matter. Canadian immigration minister Mark Miller spoke about these matters publicly, as did Nikki Haley (the potential Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency)," Danon said, according to a translation from The Siasat Daily.

Danon recommended "forming a team in the State of Israel that will take care of this issue and make sure that anyone who wants to leave Gaza for a third country can do so."

"This must be organized, because of its strategic importance for the day after the war," he said.

Netanyahu responded that his government was working on it.

This isn't the first time it has been suggested or hinted that Israel aims for the expulsion of the civilian population of Gaza. Danon co-wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in November with fellow Knesset member Ram Ben-Barak arguing that Europe and the U.S. should help resettle refugees from the Gaza Strip. Another opinion piece published in The Jerusalem Post on Monday argued that the population of Gaza should be relocated to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

A U.N. expert warned last week that a goal of forcible population transfer out of Gaza was the only "logical conclusion" of Israel's assault on the strip, which has internally displaced 85% of its 2.3 million people. Israel has killed more than 20,000 people in Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked southern Israel and killed more than 1,100 people and took around 240 hostages.

In retaliation for the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants,Israel has cut off the flow of essential supplies into Gaza and flattened or damaged, homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses with heavy, U.S.-made bombs in what military historian Robert Pape called "one of the most intense civilian punishment campaigns in history."

So far, however, governments in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. have rejected any plans to transfer the population of Gaza to another country, according to Middle East Eye. Both Egypt and Jordan have refused to accept large numbers of Gazan refugees, wanting to avoid a repetition of the first Nakba, in which Israel forced more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948.

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