Israel wants to forcibly transfer Palestinians to “humanitarian islands”

The situation in Gaza

Published 14 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Most of the Palestinians in Rafah have fled from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli military IDF, announces the intention to forcibly transfer up to 1.4 million Palestinians from the city to “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza ahead of the upcoming ground offensive on Rafah.

The measure is intended to “ensure border security and reduce tensions in the area” ahead of the large-scale Israeli ground offensive on Rafah.

– We need to make sure that 1.4 million people – or at least a significant amount of the 1.4 million people – will move, said Daniel Hagari, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman, at a press briefing on Wednesday.

When asked where the large number of people will be relocated, Hagari replied: – Where? To humanitarian islands that we will create with the international community.

Coordinated with Egypt

Hagari did not specify when the evacuations would begin or how much time would be allowed before ground forces would begin the assault. The timing will be coordinated with neighboring Egypt, which has made it clear that Gaza refugees will not be driven into its territory.

The planned move has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and world leaders, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for a “credible” plan to protect civilians before the offensive begins.

The IDF claims that displaced civilians will be moved to safe zones in central Gaza before the offensive on Rafah begins. The “humanitarian islands”, according to the IDF, will provide temporary shelter and essential supplies to the displaced civilians.

Some 1.5 million Palestinians are currently in Rafah – the vast majority of whom fled there at the behest of Israel, which at the time claimed the town was a “safe zone” – a position it quickly abandoned, arguing instead that Hamas fighters were using the town as a base and that Rafah was also a legitimate military target.

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