Israel denies reports of secret talks with many countries on relocation of Gaza’s Palestinians

Israel denies reports of secret talks with many countries on relocation of Gaza’s Palestinians

A senior Israeli official on Wednesday evening rubbished a report by local media earlier in the day claiming that Israel is “in talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo” and other nations to discuss the possibility of relocating thousands of Gazans to these countries, Times of Israel reports.

“There are those in Israel who think that there is a willingness on the part of Gazans to emigrate voluntarily,” said the official in a briefing to Israeli journalists, on condition of anonymity.

“It’s a baseless illusion in my opinion. No country will absorb 2 million people, or 1 million, or 100,000, or 5,000. I don’t know where that idea came from.”

“It could be between Congo and Gazans, but Israel is not conducting any talks with any country on this issue,” the official continued. “I don’t want to say it’s fake, but it can’t be through us since we have no connection to it. [The Congolese] can talk to the Gazans and ask them to move to Congo.”

The denial came after Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir have recently called for Gazans to be resettled outside of the Strip, drawing widespread international condemnation.

It also came after Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site Zman Yisrael reported Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is conducting secret contacts with Congo, in addition to other nations, for accepting thousands of immigrants from Gaza.

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

The Palestinian enclave has been under Israeli fire and ground forces’ occupation for more than three months now, after the October 7 operation by Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Strip.

At least 22,313 Palestinians have been killed in the operation. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. 57,296 Palestinians have been injured.

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