Middle East, Europe

Israeli minister's call for 'voluntary migration' of Palestinians ‘unacceptable’: Germany

‘These comments are not helpful,’ says deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman

Oliver Towfigh Nia  | 15.11.2023 - Update : 16.11.2023
Israeli minister's call for 'voluntary migration' of Palestinians ‘unacceptable’: Germany


Germany on Wednesday said that Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s call for a “voluntary migration” of Palestinians in Gaza is “not acceptable.”

"We have noted these comments. They are not helpful. They are also not acceptable," deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Christian Wagner told media representatives in Berlin.

Smotrich had said that the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians in Gaza is the “right humanitarian solution” for the besieged enclave and for the region.

The Israeli finance minister made the comments after Knesset members Danny Danon, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, and Ram Ben-Barak, former deputy director of the intelligence agency Mossad, published a commentary in The Wall Street Journal on Monday suggesting moving some of Gaza’s population to nations that will accept them.

Commenting on the remarks, Wagner pointed out that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had laid out a five-point plan for a viable two-state solution at the recent G-7 meeting in Tokyo where she explicitly said Palestinians should not be driven out of Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized Smotrich’s comments as “part of Israel’s colonial, racist plan” for Palestinians.

Furthermore, it accused Israel of engaging in a “genocide” supported by Smotrich and added that the only solution was for international intervention to end Israel’s occupation.

Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, said in a post on X that Smotrich “revealed the real policy and intentions of the Israeli government”.

“(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu himself said in the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza that all Gazans must evict their homes. Ethnic cleansing is a war crime and it is done by bombarding unprotected civilian population,” Barghouti said.

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