The US State Department has strongly criticized suggestions by far-right Israeli officials for the resettlement of Gazans outside of Gaza, labeling them as "inflammatory and irresponsible." This condemnation comes in the wake of statements by two members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition, who have proposed that Palestinian residents should leave Gaza.
These statements have surfaced as Israeli officials contemplate the future of the coastal enclave post-conflict. US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller, in a statement, emphasized that Washington has been assured by the Israeli government, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu, that these statements do not represent official policy.
"They should stop immediately," Miller stated, highlighting the sensitivity and potential repercussions of such rhetoric in an already volatile region.
Gaza's Post-War Governance and Future
This controversy arises amid ongoing discussions between US officials and the Palestinian Authority, as well as regional allies of the US, about the governance plans for Gaza post-war.
These deliberations are a focal point for US foreign policy as it attempts to envisage a future beyond the immediate conflict. In his statement, Miller reiterated the US position that Gaza is Palestinian territory and should remain so, with the future governance of the area free from the control of Hamas or any terror groups posing a threat to Israel.
"That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world," he said. This stance reflects the broader goal of achieving stability and peace in the region, balancing the interests and safety of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli Officials' Controversial Remarks: A Divisive Issue
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's Proposal The debate was fueled further by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who, according to Reuters, suggested on Sunday that Palestinian residents leave Gaza to allow Israelis to "make the desert bloom." This statement, evocative of historical Zionist narratives about land cultivation, has sparked controversy and criticism for its disregard of the rights and homes of Palestinian residents.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir's Support for Resettlement
Adding to the controversy, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir expressed his support for the idea of resettling Palestinians from Gaza overseas.
During a political meeting, Ben Gvir stated that Israel's conflict with Hamas presents an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza”. This statement, which aligns with Ben Gvir's far-right political stance, has been met with international criticism for its potential to exacerbate tensions and undermine efforts towards peace and coexistence.