Two members of the Israeli Knesset wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal arguing for Western countries to take in refugees from Gaza as Israeli officials continue to call for Palestinians to be pushed out of the enclave.
The op-ed was written by Danny Danon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, and Ram Ben-Barak, a member of the opposition party Yesh Atid, which is led by former Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
“One idea is for countries around the world to accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate,” the lawmakers wrote. They listed examples of conflicts where Europe and the US accepted refugees, including the wars in former Yugoslavia and Syria.
“Looking to these examples, countries around the world should offer a haven for Gaza residents who seek relocation,” they wrote. Danon and Ben-Barak concluded the op-ed by saying the “international community” has a “moral imperative” to accept refugees from Gaza as Israel’s war has killed over 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,500 children, and has internally displaced about 1.5 million people out of Gaza’s approximately 2.3 million residents.
The op-ed drew praise from Bezalel Smotrich, an extremist settler who leads the Religious Zionist party and is Israel’s finance minister. “I welcome the initiative of members of Knesset Ram Ben-Barak and Danny Danon on the voluntary immigration of Gaza Arabs to the countries of the world. This is the right humanitarian solution for the residents of Gaza and the entire region,” he said, according to The Palestine Chronicle.
Smotrich said that other countries accepting refugees from Gaza is the “only solution that will bring to an end the suffering and pain of Jews and Arabs alike.” He added that the “state of Israel will no longer be able to put up with the existence of an independent entity in Gaza.”
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry criticized Smotrich’s call for a “voluntary migration” of Palestinians, calling it “part of Israel’s colonial, racist plan.”
A leaked document from Israel’s Intelligence Ministry revealed that the Netanyahu government is considering a plan to push all the Palestinians in Gaza into Egypt, but Cairo and other Arab nations are strongly opposed to the proposal.