TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli Cabinet minister is promoting the idea of resettling Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in foreign countries as a way to ensure Israel’s security along the border once the war with Hamas is over.
Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel said in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post newspaper on Sunday that “voluntary resettlement” was the best way to provide Palestinians from Gaza with a better life. “It could be a win-win solution,” she wrote. Gamliel did not say what her plan would mean for those who chose to remain in Gaza, nor what countries would be open to take them. She did not specify what Israel’s role would be in a future Gaza.
Gamliel’s proposal stands in sharp contrast to the postwar vision for Gaza set forth by Israel’s top ally, the United States, which opposes the idea of displacement. The U.S. calls for a united and Palestinian-led government for Gaza and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority after the war ends, while Gamliel, echoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, cannot have a foothold in Gaza.
Gamliel’s ministry was behind a wartime proposal last month that suggested transferring the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. While dubbed by Israel as a hypothetical exercise, that idea drew condemnation from the Palestinians, who have painful memories of their people’s mass displacement during the war that led to Israel’s creation. Egypt has made clear throughout this latest war that it does not want to take in a wave of Palestinian refugees.
Gamliel’s op-ed follows a similar proposal made last week by two Israeli lawmakers in the Wall Street Journal, who said countries around the world “should offer a haven for Gaza residents who seek relocation.”