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Israel encourages Gazans to leave

Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has confirmed reports about Israeli plans to urge residents of Gaza to leave the Strip and never return.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Aug. 18 visit to Ukraine first made headlines due to embarrassing gaffes by his wife, Sara Netanyahu. Then came the serious news. A source in Netanyahu’s entourage whose name was not divulged told journalists covering the visit that Israel was willing to encourage one-way emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. He said that the National Security Council (NSC) had put out feelers to Arab states to see if they would take Gaza immigrants in, but they had refused. The official also told the dumbfounded reporters that the prime minister had approved the plan and the security cabinet had discussed it several times. He added that Israel had expressed its willingness to cover the costs of moving the Gazans abroad and to put Air Force bases (probably the southern Nevatim base) at their disposal to facilitate their departure.

The official did not divulge what foreign governments Israel had approached, but they were probably Gulf states with which Israel has greatly improved diplomatic ties. These countries are in dire need of working hands, whereas the Palestinians, many of them skilled construction workers, would serve as a cheap labor source.

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