The Palestinian National Authority’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has decried the emigration ploy Israel is implementing to get Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, the ministry said it had grave concerns towards news circulated in Israeli media which cited a senior official confirming that Israel worked hard to encourage Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip for other countries.
An Israeli official spoke about plans to support the organized migration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and revealed that Israel has been working for nearly a year to find host countries.
The official, a party to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s entourage, said that Israel is not only willing to bear the cost of the voluntary immigration of residents from the Gaza Strip, but also is considering to allow them to use an Israeli airport near Gaza for departure, in reference to an Israeli military air bases.
Speaking from Ukraine, the senior official said that Netanyahu was set to return to Tel Aviv but was delayed by his tour to regional and European countries to look to countries willing to welcome Gazans. Nevertheless, not a single country has so far approved hosting them.
The Israeli effort that began a year ago came at a time when young Gazans are increasingly willing to emigrate. Last year, some 35,000 people left the Strip voluntarily.
Statements by international relief affiliates of the United Nations confirm that in 2018, 60,907 people left the Gaza Strip for Egypt via the Rafah crossing, with only 37,075 people returning to the Gaza Strip.
This figure represents the largest voluntary migration of its kind from Gaza in recent years. Most of the departures were young people with university degrees and come from families with high annual incomes, including 150 doctors from Gaza hospitals.
Israeli media reports have recently monitored how many departures are leaving for Turkey, through local intermediaries who arrange their travel, starting with transport by boat to Greece, and then to other European countries.