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Israel looking to resettle Gazans

11 January 20240 comments

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair may be appointed as head of the Israeli initiative aiming to encourage other countries to take in Palestinians fleeing Israel’s assault of the Gaza Strip, according to reports.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Mr Blair recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz to go over the possibility of the former British leader taking charge of where Palestinian refugees from Gaza are relocated.

Most of the Palestinian population in Gaza – 1.8 million people – have been displaced since Israel began its bombardment three months ago. 

On Saturday the Wall Street Journal reported that 70 percent of Gaza’s homes and half of the enclave’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed in Israeli air strikes. 

So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 21,800 people, including 9,100 children, the government media office in the Gaza Strip reported on Sunday. 

Civilians and health officials in Gaza have repeatedly stated that they believe the number of those killed is far higher than what is being published by the Ministry of Health, due to people being trapped under the rubble and a lack of access to healthcare facilities and hospitals. 

Mr Blair’s office has refused to confirm the reports. And the Israeli government has not made official comments regarding post-war refugee efforts. 

But Mr Netanyahu has indicated he plans to continue the deadly offensive in Gaza for “months”. 

“The war is at its height. We are fighting on all of the fronts. Achieving victory will require time. As the chief of staff has said, the war will continue,” he said in a recent speech.

With the goal of eradicating the Hamas government, Mr Netanyahu also said that Israel should take over Gaza’s border with Egypt and close any access points. 

Meanwhile, right wing Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich recently said there would be an exodus of Palestinians and Israelis “will live in the Gaza Strip”.

“We will not allow a situation in which two million people live there. If there are 100,000 to 200,000 Arabs living in Gaza, the discussion about the day after will be completely different,” he said.

“I’m for completely changing the reality in Gaza, having a conversation about settlements in the Gaza Strip. We’ll need to rule there for a long time,” he said.