Israel In Secret Talks With Congo To Relocate Palestinians

The Hebrew sister site of The Times of Israel, Zman Israel recently discovered that Israel is in secret talks with the Congo to relocate Palestinians.

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According to a senior government official, Israel has held discussions with other nations about the possible absorption of Palestinians from Gaza through “voluntary” resettlement. This initiative is gradually taking center stage in the government’s stated policies.

Zman Israel, the Hebrew sister site of The Times of Israel, has discovered that the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is secretly negotiating with Congo and other countries to receive thousands of Gaza refugees.

“Congo will be willing to take in migrants, and we’re in talks with others,” a senior source in the security cabinet said.

According to the World Food Programme, 52.5 percent of Congolese people live in poverty and the country has high levels of inequality.

The Israel-Hamas conflict, which began on October 7 when thousands of terrorists broke through the border and rampaged through southern Israeli villages, killing almost 1,200 people and taking about 240 more captive in the Gaza Strip, is causing an increasing humanitarian crisis for Gaza.

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Netanyahu stated at a Likud faction meeting on Monday that he is trying to make it easier for Gazans to voluntarily migrate abroad.

“Our problem is [finding] countries that are willing to absorb Gazans, and we are working on it,” he said.

The prime minister was reacting to Likud MK Danny Danon, who asserted that although the concept has been flatly rejected by the international community, “the world is already considering the possibility of voluntary immigration.”

The proposals for migration have received support from the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties, led by Ministers of Finance Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, respectively.

Israel’s National Security Headquarters has warned its citizens in India after the blast near the embassy to avoid crowded places, including markets and malls.

The US State Department denounced Smotrich and Ben Gvir on Tuesday for their support of Palestinian resettlement outside of Gaza, branding their statements as “inflammatory and irresponsible.” On Wednesday, Smotrich rejected the remarks, asserting that because “two million people [in Gaza] wake up every morning with the desire to destroy the State of Israel,” more than 70% of Israelis are in favor of “encouraging voluntary immigration.”

Netanyahu, despite his remarks last week in favor of a population transfer, has publicly stated in the past that Smotrich and Ben Gvir do not represent government policy on the subject, according to statements from Netanyahu’s office.

Far-right leaders Itamar Ben Gvir (L) and Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset on December 29, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Legislators and ministers from Netanyahu’s Likud party have also supported the initiative.

According to Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, “voluntary migration is the best and most realistic program for the day after the fighting ends,” as she stated to Zman on Tuesday.

In the course of a Tuesday discussion in the Knesset examining potential post-war Gaza arrangements, Gamliel declared: “Hamas rule will collapse at the end of the war.” The civilian population will be dependent on humanitarian help; there are no municipal authority. 60% of Gaza’s agricultural land will be turned into security buffer zones, and there won’t be any jobs.

Gamliel showed a map of the Gaza Strip showing the surviving population boxed in during internal negotiations. Israel would sever its relations with Gaza and extend its security buffer zones; it would also create a permanent naval blockade; and maintain control over the Philadelphi Corridor, which stretches along the 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) border between Gaza and Egypt (a proposal that was criticized on Saturday by an Egyptian lawmaker).

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Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel attends the Christian Feast of Tabernacles event organized by the Jerusalem Christian Embassy, held at the Arena stadium in Jerusalem on October 3, 2023 (Chaim Goldberg/FLASH90)

According to Gamliel, giving Gaza to the Palestinian Authority and allowing Gazans to grow up in a hostile environment are unacceptable since it will encourage future attacks on Israel. Even if the government opposes the PA’s return, it hasn’t said anything about the kind of political organization it envisions leading Gaza.

“The Gaza problem is not just our problem,” Gamliel said. “The world should support humanitarian emigration because that’s the only solution I know.”

One of the main proponents of the proposal to persuade Gazans to flee the Strip is Likud’s Danon.

His five-point plan—demobilization, creating a security buffer zone, Israeli presence at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, voluntary emigration, and eliminating the terrorist atmosphere—was presented on Tuesday during a conference in the Knesset.

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Likud MK Danny Danon in Jerusalem, September 13, 2023 (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)

Together with Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak, he wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in November that laid out the Palestinian migration plan in detail and demanded that “countries around the world accept limited numbers of Gazan families who have expressed a desire to relocate.” Later on, Ben Barak appeared to retract the article, saying he had “not been completely understood.”

Tuesday night’s security cabinet meeting was scheduled to cover the fate of Gaza after the war.

Plans were to be presented by the ministers, and during discussions between them, it was also suggested that they approach Saudi Arabia about hiring hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Nearly 500,000 people are employed in the Gulf country, which is experiencing a massive building boom. The majority of these workers are currently from Bangladesh, India, and other nations.

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Foreign laborers work at a construction site amid scorching heat in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on June 16, 2022 (Fayez Nureldine / AFP)

The security cabinet meeting, however, was rescheduled for Wednesday due to the necessity for security consultations following the death of Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy political leader of Hamas. Arouri was believed to be the primary mastermind behind West Bank terrorism orchestrated by the group and had been wanted by Israel for years. He was slain in an alleged Israeli strike in the Dahiyeh suburb of Beirut.

During the security cabinet meeting on Wednesday, it was anticipated that the concept of resettling Gazans would take center stage.

The conversation takes place as Washington grows more and more irritated with Netanyahu’s government, which the Biden administration has continued to back both militarily and politically in the fight against Hamas but has grown more at odds with on how to handle Gaza after the combat is finished.

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