Resettlement of Gaza Palestinians is “absolutely not” Israel’s position: President

The resettlement of Palestinians out of Gaza is “outright, officially and unequivocally” not Tel Aviv’s position, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog has clsimed.

Speaking to NBC on Sunday, Herzog was asked whether recent comments made by some Israeli cabinet members, who appeared to suggest a forced displacement of Palestinians out of Gaza, reflect the Israeli government’s official position.

Herzog said this is “absolutely not” the position of the “Israeli government or the Israeli parliament or the Israeli public”, but added, “In a society where free speech is the basis of our national DNA, people can say whatever they want.”

The Israeli president told NBC his colleagues “were speaking about the wilful leaving of the Gaza Strip, but… I’m saying outright, officially and unequivocally this is not the Israeli position”.

Herzog also spoke of Israel’s determination “to undermine the ability of Hamas to operate terror throughout the world and of course, in Israel”.

He added Israel was “utterly grateful” to US President Joe Biden for his “steadfast stand” in supporting Israel, and that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming visit to Israel is “another expression of the huge impact and importance that the United States places as to the direction and the exit from this conflict”.

Israel first called for residents in the northern Gaza Strip to move to the south soon after the assault began on Oct. 7, despite warnings that such a mass migration would lead to a humanitarian disaster. Many did, hoping the south would be safer, but there have been many attacks in the southern Gaza Strip too.

Israeli bombardment has killed thousands of civilians in the areas of the besieged territory that Israel has ordered them to move to.

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced as “a war crime accompanied by criminal aggression” the latest call by Israeli officials for Palestinian residents of Gaza to leave the besieged region in order for extremist settlers to return to the area after the war.

The group said that the international community and the United Nations must take decisive actions to stop the Israeli regime’s crimes and hold its leaders accountable for what they have done to the Palestinian people.

“Our people have declared their position. They will stand firmly and steadfastly in the face of all attempts to displace them from their land and homes, until full liberation of the occupied territories and return of all refugees,” it added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also emphasized that Palestinians will remain steadfast in defense of their legitimate rights, and will not accept displacement from their land at all.

Arab countries have previously warned that an influx of Palestinian refugees fleeing the war would be unacceptable because it would amount to the expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

Nearly 23,000 people have been killed in over three months of Israeli onslaught on the blockaded enclave.

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