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European countries oppose Israeli idea of Gaza population's forced relocation

January 6, 2024 at 2:32 pm

European Union flags are seen waving outside the EU Commission Building in Brussels, Belgium. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

European countries have come a long way since Israel’s three-month war on Gaza began, as their stance that “Israel has the right to do just about whatever it wants” slowly shifts towards “Israel has no such rights,” Anadolu Agency reports. The latest example of this is a rising chorus of condemnation of Israeli officials’ proposal for forced relocation of the population in Gaza.

Concerns about forced relocations are not a recent development, but in fact began with the first order for Gazans in the north to evacuate to the southern strip just a week into the conflict, which began with a cross-border attack by Palestinian resistance group Hamas on 7 October.

Those fears gained more and more momentum as nearly 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip were displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine.

The continuing onslaught not only left the densely populated besieged strip in ruins but also pushed Gazans to so-called “safe zones” established by Israel in the southern strip, resulting in overcrowding and ongoing attacks near border points.

The longstanding failure of leading European countries such as the UK, Germany, and France to call for a cease-fire also affected the situation badly, while it is arguable how much the week-long humanitarian pause in Gaza last November gave relief to the population.

Recently, the idea of pushing for the displacement of Gaza’s Palestinian population was given voice by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in what they called “voluntary migration,” urging countries to take displaced Palestinians in.

Ben-Gvir and Smotrich’s remarks received immediate and international condemnation, including from the UK, Germany and France.

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