Netanyahu ‘suggests new US-built port could help deport Palestinians’

Palestinians hit back at suggestion reportedly raised in cabinet meeting, saying that it implies plans for mass expulsions from Gaza

Mar 20, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly suggested that the new US-built makeshift port off Gaza, which was installed to help ship aid to the besieged enclave, could be used to deport Palestinians.

Washington earlier this month announced plans for the military to construct a “temporary” floating dock on Gaza’s coast to allow aid to enter more easily.

“A temporary pier will enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day,” US President Joe Biden said.

However, speaking at a private meeting of the Knessett’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, Netanyahu suggested the port could also facilitate the removal of Palestinians from Gaza.

Netanyahu said there was “no obstacle” to the Palestinians leaving the Gaza Strip apart from the unwillingness of other countries to accept them, according to a Kan News journalist.

The suggestion was met with anger by Palestinians, who have long suggested the ultimate goal of Israel’s operations in Gaza was their removal from the region.

“He never gave up his dream of a complete ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza,” tweeted Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, in response to the news.

With Gaza under total siege for nearly six months, the Palestinian health ministry has said that around one in three children are now acutely malnourished and two in 10,000 are dying of starvation.

Over half of the population are now on the verge of famine, with most in the northern governorates where humanitarian access is extremely limited.

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Monday that famine is expected in northern Gaza anytime between now and May.

Israel has denied restricting the entry of aid to Gaza, claiming that the UN is responsible for blocking aid deliveries.

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