Israeli Official: We Will Pay for Palestinians to Emigrate from Gaza

Palestinians stand in a queue outside the post office in Gaza City to receive cash aid, part of $480 million in aid allocated by Qatar
AFP/MOHAMMED ABED

TEL AVIV – Israel is actively promoting the emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, including providing financial aid and finding host countries willing to absorb them, a senior Israeli official accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his current trip to Ukraine said Monday.

According to the unnamed official, Israel has been in talks with countries in the Middle East and Europe to absorb Gazans, but so far no country has agreed.

The venture, spearheaded by the National Security Council, was launched about a year ago.

Israel would allow the Gazans to use an Israeli airfield in the south to fly out to their new countries and would also foot the bill for the flights, the official said.

More than 35,000 Gazans left the Strip in 2018 and relocated abroad, the official said.

“That’s a pretty high number,” the senior official told reporters.

The Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group has imposed measures to block the wave of emigration, according to a recent report by the Haaretz daily.

Unemployment among Gaza youth is at 70%, with Hamas attributing that statistic to the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt. The blockade is intended to prevent terror and the smuggling of weapons.

According to a report on Tuesday in the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper, Hamas has threatened that if Israel does not ease the blockade, it will face renewed violence.

“The factions have given the interlocutors a direct threat [to pass along to Israel]: If the enemy does not implement the understandings, allowing entry of the Qatari funds and increasing the quantity of electricity by this weekend, they will move to escalate on the ground,” an unnamed Hamas source told the newspaper.

The threat comes amid a surge in violence along the border, in which rockets were launched at Israeli communities and the Israeli army shot dead three armed Gazans trying to infiltrate the country.

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