US and France slam Israel’s Gaza settlement idea

The US and France condemned Gaza settlement plans which were suggested by numerous hardline Israeli ministers at a rally in Jerusalem on January 28, according to French newspaper Le Monde. 

Around a dozen lawmakers in Netanyahu’s government spoke at a far-right, religious extremist rally as the crowd, made up of all ages, and the politicians discussed their sinister plans for Gaza’s 2.2 million-strong population, dubbed “a recolonisation of Gaza” by the French news outlet. 

Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Israeli settlers to return to Gaza which was strongly condemned by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah. 

The Israeli official said, “If we don’t want another October 7, we need to return home and control the land.” 

 A report was leaked in late October and published by Israeli news website Sicha Mekomit, saying that the government has plans to transfer the enclave’s population to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt however contrary to the cabinet minister’s remarks, Netanyahu emphasised that Israel has no plans to remain present in Gaza once its battle with militants Hamas is over. 

Despite Mr Ben-Gvir’s views on the matter seemingly being at loggerheads with the government’s policy, he was not sanctioned or condemned by the premier much to the disappointment of Paris and Washington. 

READ: Report leaked showing Israel contemplates resettling Gazans

On January 29, a French Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “We expect from the Israeli authorities a clear denunciation of these (Ben-Gvir’s) positions.” 

On the same day, The White House affirmed in a statement, “We have also been clear, consistent, and unequivocal against the forced relocation of Palestinians outside of Gaza. 

“This rhetoric is incendiary and irresponsible, and we take the prime minister at his word when he says that Israel does not intend to reoccupy Gaza.”  

A lot has also been made by Western countries notably, including Israeli allies, with regards to Netanyahu recently reiterating that he opposes the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state. The far-right leader made those remarks during a phone call with President Biden. 

Following the comments, the UK said that it was “disappointing to hear” whilst France’s Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said that Netanyahu’s declarations were “worrying”. 

Le Monde/ The Times of Israel/ Reuters 

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