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Displacement of the Palestinian people goes against international law
update:December 28,2023
Dec. 28, 2023 -- Any attempts to permanently displace the Palestinian people within and from Gaza goes against international law and conducting a "voluntary migration" would also be misleading, experts said.
On Tuesday, it was widely reported by Middle East media outlets, which mostly cites a Tel Aviv-based newspaper Israel Hayom, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a Likud meeting on Monday that efforts were being made to push for a plan to implement "voluntary migration" of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to other countries.
Haaretz, another Israeli newspaper based in Tel Aviv, reported on Tuesday that Knesset member and former United Nations ambassador Danny Danon had also said Monday night, in a radio interview, that the State of Israel had received inquiries from countries willing to take in refugees from the Gaza Strip.
According to the Haaretz report, Danon said it was "voluntary migration of Palestinians who wish to leave", adding that "it happens in every war, look at what's happening in Syria — one and a half million went to Jordan, three million went to Turkiye and another few million went to Europe", Danon was quoted as saying by Haaretz. 
Humanitarian organization the Norwegian Refugee Council, or NRC, warned on Tuesday in a statement that any attempts by Israel to deport and permanently displace Palestinians within and from Gaza "would constitute a serious breach of international law and an atrocity crime". 
"This concern follows Israel's forcible transfer of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians within Gaza. Palestinians fear further displacement could lead to a refugee crisis like the catastrophic events of 1948, known in Arabic as the 'Nakba'," it said.
It also said that Israel's extensive destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, coupled with ongoing bombardment and siege, "has made Gaza unlivable" and could push the population into forced and protracted displacement across the border, "with limited prospects for repatriation".
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, at least 20,915 Palestinians have been killed, and 54,918 others wounded in the Israel-Hamas conflict since fighting escalated on Oct 7 amid the decades-old conflict. A staggering 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza, or more than 80 percent of the population, have been internally displaced.
Twenty-four Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza in five days after last Friday. Since the start of the ground operation, 164 soldiers have been killed, and 874 soldiers have been injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
Abdalfatah Asqool, an international law lecturer at the University of Palestine in the Gaza Strip, told China Daily that the use of "voluntary migration" was "misleading" because what Israel was doing by using "extreme force" to force people to leave their homes and lands "is not a voluntary push for Palestinian migration".
"When we talk about this call from an international law perspective, this call very clearly goes against the international law instruments because no one has the right to force people or even ask people to leave their homes and their lands," Asqool said.
He said countries have the right to not accept Palestinians, but not because they were merely refusing them.
"So when they refuse, they actually do not refuse to accept Palestinians or take in Palestinians. They refuse to accept the Israeli plans to finish the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian existence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This is the real truth," said Asqool.
Haydar Oruc, a former researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkiye, noted that it "is a well-known fact that Netanyahu and the radical far-right parties that support him do not accept a possible Palestinian state". He said some have not expressed their views until after Oct 7.
"They became more comfortable voicing their subconscious views due to the problematic legitimacy provided to them by the United States. One of them is Netanyahu's statements that he wants Palestinians to 'voluntarily' go to other countries or that neighboring countries should 'voluntarily' accept Palestinians," said Oruc.
He also said no neighboring Arab country has no responsibility "to accept Palestinians and please Israel just because Israel wants to". On the contrary, he added, they should provide the necessary support for the Palestinians to remain in their land and react against such aggressive rhetoric by Israel.
The NRC also said that pushing for the irreversible deportation of hundreds of thousands "directly undermines resolving this conflict amid decades of a refugee crisis" and that the international community "must unequivocally condemn any forced displacement of Palestinians, whether within or outside the Gaza Strip".
Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the NRC, also said in the statement that rather than forcing people across borders, all involved parties, including Palestinian armed groups and Israel, must immediately cease hostilities. 
"Israel, in particular, must allow Gaza residents to return to their homes and provide compensation for the extensive damage inflicted on civilian areas in Gaza," added Egeland.
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