Mainstream’s solution to Hamas government? Voluntary emigration of Gazans 

Mainstream’s solution to Hamas government? Voluntary emigration of Gazans 

As Israel’s war on Hamas finishes its third month, politicians, Israeli and foreign, are speculating about the fate of Gaza after the war. Calls for an immediate ceasefire would leave Hamas in place and while 62% of Palestinians in Gaza expressed support for Hamas, Israel has vowed to remove the terrorist organization from its southern border. 

The Biden administration has tried to float a plan that would have the Palestinian Authority take over in Gaza as a precursor to a two-state solution despite the plan being wildly unpopular with both Palestinians and Israelis.

While right-wing elements in Israel’s government are calling for resettling Gush Katif, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, a left-wing representative of the current unity government, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and recommended maintaining Israel’s military control of Gaza’s borders, while a “multinational task force” oversees reconstruction and economic development in the territory.  Under Gallant’s plan, Gazans who do not have ties to Hamas would administer civislian affairs in the Gaza Strip. The PA would have no role in the administration of Gaza and Jews would be barred from entering Gaza.

Pictured L-R: IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant discuss the ongoing war in Tel Aviv on Dec. 18, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

While some politicians argue over who will run Gaza, others are proposing that the Arabs civilians in Gaza be permitted to exercise the basic human right of fleeing a combat zone. On Tuesday, Minister of Intelligence Gila Gamliel presented the main points of her plan for the voluntary resettlement of residents of the Gaza Strip, which she is presenting to the government.

“The Gaza problem is not just our problem,” Gamliel said. “The world should support humanitarian emigration, because that’s the only solution I know.”

“The mobilization of the international community is required to create a pool of countries that will take in refugees while receiving an aid package for them,” Minister Gamliel said. “With proper diplomatic work, the international system can be harnessed for this. The implementation of an outline of voluntary humanitarian resettlement will allow Gaza refugees who wish to have the opportunity to rebuild their lives, without the tyranny and oppression of Hamas-ISIS, to be able to do so.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel. Credit: Courtesy.
(source: JNS)

The Biden State Department issued a statement condemning the plan to allow Gazans to leave, attributing it to the agenda of the right-wing politicians Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir. 

The two ministers did support allowing Gazans to emigrate.

“We want to encourage willful emigration, and we need to find countries willing to take them in,” Smotrich said about the plan.

“We have an opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza,” Ben Gvir said. “This is a correct, just, moral, and humane solution.”

Danny Danon, a Likud politician and Israel’s former representative to the United Nations, and Ram Ben-Barak from the left-wing Yesh Atid party, published an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, calling for “countries around the world to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate.”

“We simply need a handful of the world’s nations to share the responsibility of hosting Gazan residents. Even if countries took in as few as 10,000 people each, it would help alleviate the crisis,” they proposed.

U.N. workers and empty trucks wait for the arrival of humanitarian aid at the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Oct. 21, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
(source: JNS)

A report in Israel Hayom published on Wednesday cited a memo submitted to Israel’s political leadership by legal experts claiming that Israel has no legal obligation to allow displaced Gaza residents to return to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip. The memo, signed by Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Bitton from Sapir College, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich from George Mason University, and Prof. Avi Bell from the law schools of Bar Ilan University and the University of San Diego, analyzed the state of war from a legal perspective. 

The legal experts explored whether there is an obligation to allow residents to return northwards if it would thwart a key military objective in war. In this case, allowing the Gazan civilians to return would deter finding and returning Israeli hostages. The experts based their opinion on reports that the Israeli captives were transferred to the southern Gaza Strip under the cover of humanitarian corridors created by Israel, while being forced to disguise themselves as locals.  Allowing Gazans to return to northern Gaza would further exacerbate the IDF’s search for hostages. 

Palestinians flee Khan Yunis to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 25, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
(source: JNS)

The three jurists emphasized that returning the population to the north bears no relevance so long as the fighting continues. It was also emphasized that Israelis were not able to return to their communities adjacent to the Gaza border because of ongoing rocket attacks from Hamas.

“The IDF has no legal obligation to enable the return of the population to the northern Gaza Strip, and such a duty is unlikely to emerge in the coming months,” the legal experts concluded. “The IDF has a vital military need justifying non-return of the population as long as fighting continues and as long as the goal of freeing the captives remains.”

No Arab country in the region has agreed to accept refugees from Gaza but on October 16, a report in the Financial Times noted that in response to being pressured by the European Union to accept refugees fleeing Gaza, Egypt responded by suggesting that European countries do the same.

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