Itamar Ben Gvir, Minister of National Security and leader of the far-right pro-settler Jewish Force party, called on Monday for a return of Jewish settlers to Gaza, after the current war, and to “encourage” the Palestinian population to emigrate, the day after a similar call from Bezalel Smotrich.
The Minister of Finance and head of the Religious Zionism party, which is part of the ruling coalition government, on Sunday advocated a return of Jewish settlers to the Gaza Strip after the war, believing that the Palestinian population of this territory should be “encouraged” to emigrate to other countries.
“I strongly condemn the inflammatory and irresponsible statements by Israeli Ministers Ben Gvir and Smotrich insulting the Palestinian population of Gaza and calling for their mass departure,” denounced Mr. Borrell. “Forced displacement is strictly prohibited and considered a serious violation of international humanitarian law and words have meaning,” Mr. Borrell said on social media.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also denounced these comments in a statement: “France condemns the comments of the Israeli Ministers of Finance, Mr. Bezalel Smotrich, and of National Security, Mr. Itamar Ben Gvir” and calls on Israel “to ‘refrain from such provocative statements, which are irresponsible and fuel tensions’.
On Thursday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said he was “very troubled” by the statements. “International law prohibits the forced transfer of protected persons within an occupied territory or their expulsion from this territory,” he recalled on the social network X.
“The solution must be imposed from the outside”
A possible resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will have to be “imposed from the outside” by the international community, because “the two parties will never be able to reach an agreement,” Josep Borrell also estimated.
“What we have learned over the last thirty years, and what we are learning now with the tragedy in Gaza, is that the solution must be imposed from outside,” Mr. Borrell said in a speech at the of a diplomatic conference in Lisbon.
“Peace will only be achieved in a lasting manner if the international community gets involved intensely to achieve it and imposes a solution,” he stressed, referring to an effort in which “the United States, the Europeans and the Arabs.”
Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip have caused the deaths of 22,313 people, mostly women, adolescents and children, according to a new report Wednesday from the Gaza Ministry of Health, administered by Hamas. The Gaza Strip’s approximately 2.4 million residents continue to face a dire humanitarian situation.
The Jewish state continues its bombings in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an attack of unprecedented scale carried out by Hamas commandos which resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people in Israel, the majority civilians, according to latest official Israeli data.