Palestinians decry talk about Gaza emigration

The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that the “suspicious talk” about emigration from the Gaza Strip was in the context of efforts to “liquidate the Palestinian cause.

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August 20, 2019 19:51
3 minute read.
EVENING IN the port of Gaza

EVENING IN the port of Gaza. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinians on Tuesday warned against Israel’s intention to encourage residents of the Gaza Strip to emigrate and held the Israeli government responsible for the “suffering” of the nearly 2,000,000 Palestinians living in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
Hamas condemned as an “illusion” and “Zionist dream” reports that the Israeli government has been actively encouraging Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip to move abroad.

The Palestinian Authority also condemned the reports and held Israel fully responsible for the “suffering” of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The PA Foreign Ministry accused Israel of seeking to drive the Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip by keeping the blockade and “committing crimes” against Palestinians living there. It pointed out that the talk about encouraging Palestinians to emigrate “coincided with Israeli threats to launch a large-scale military operation against the Gaza Strip.”

“The Israeli occupation violations amount to war crimes against humanity, and what the occupation is doing is a grave repetition of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe),” the ministry said in a statement.

An unnamed senior Israeli official was quoted on Monday as saying that the government is currently in talks with countries in the Middle East and Europe to absorb Palestinians willing to leave the Gaza Strip, but no country has agreed.
The official said that more than 35,000 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip last year. According to the official, Israel is willing to finance flights for those interested in leaving.

A senior PA official in Ramallah said that instead of helping Palestinians leave the Gaza Strip, Israel needs to “stop punishing the two million residents living there.” He said that the talk about encouraging Palestinians to emigrate was “extremely dangerous and requires a strong response from the international community.”

The official said that Hamas was also responsible for the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and called on the leaders of Hamas to allow the PA to assume its full responsibilities there.
“This is an old-new Zionist dream,” said Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem. “They want the Palestinians to leave and give up their land.”

Qassem said that the Palestinians have already proven that they are prepared to make sacrifices to preserve their land, and not abandon it.

“Hamas and the resistance factions are fighting to strengthen the steadfastness of our people and to recover our land,” he said. “We seek to bring back displaced Palestinians.”

The Hamas spokesperson said that despite the humanitarian crisis, the blockade and wars in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have chosen to stay on their land.

“Hamas seeks to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” Qassem added. “The talk about emigration won’t happen. We are fully confident that the Palestinian people won’t leave their land to the occupier, and will continue to work toward lifting the siege imposed on them.”

Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction, said that Israeli attempts to encourage Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip won’t succeed. He told the PA’s Palestine Radio station that Israel was making every effort to push Palestinians to leave their land.

Aloul accused Israel of seeking to exploit the harsh humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip to encourage Palestinians to emigrate. The Palestinians, he stressed, are categorically opposed to this attempt.

The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said that the “suspicious talk” about emigration from the Gaza Strip was in the context of efforts to “liquidate the Palestinian cause and national rights.”

The DFLP warned Palestinians against dealing with the reports and said they serve the schemes of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Walid Awad, a senior official with the Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party), said that Israeli efforts to encourage Palestinians to emigrate from the Gaza Strip were “part of a series of conspiracies” against the Palestinians.

He warned that the Israeli scheme may extend to the West Bank in the context of Israel’s “transfer plan, which is in accordance with the racist Nation-State Law that was passed by the Knesset last year.”

Awad pointed out that statistics have shown that thousands of Palestinians left the Gaza Strip in the past two years, and only a small number of them have returned.


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