Egypt FM: Israeli attempts to displace Palestinians from Gaza a ‘war crime’

Sameh Shoukry 

Nov 14, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry slammed remarks made by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calling for the “voluntary” displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, saying Israel’s actions in the strip are a war crime.

Shoukry, in his comments to diplomatic reporters on Tuesday, said that Israeli policies forcing Palestinians from their homes constitute "a full-fledged war crime under the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.”

He denounced Smotrich’s claims on Tuesday that any displacement of Palestinians would be voluntary, affirming that people in Gaza are being compelled to leave their homes due to “deliberate military targeting of civilians in the strip and the intentional siege and starvation operations.”

The far-right Israeli finance minister had said that Israel “will no longer be able to accept the existence of an independent entity in Gaza," calling for a “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians from Gaza to countries around the world as “the right humanitarian solution.”

The Egyptian FM also noted that Egypt and the international community rejects any attempts to justify or encourage the displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

Shoukry stressed Egypt’s unwavering rejection of forced displacement policies against the Palestinians, the liquation of the Palestinian cause or any deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid and essential services, which create unbearable conditions for civilians.

Shoukry called for those who claim to care about the humanitarian situation in Gaza to work on halting Israel's military operations that kill civilians, including women and children.

He further emphasized that Egypt will continue its efforts to preserve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to remain on their territories and establish an independent, viable, and contiguous state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Smotrich’s remarks are the latest in a series of inflammatory statements by Israeli ministers under the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu, including a suggestion to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza.

This suggestion, made by Israeli Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu earlier this month, sparked widespread outcry and international condemnation. Netanyahu subsequently suspended Eliyahu from Cabinet meetings and claimed that his remarks were not based on reality.

Furthermore, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter told the media a few days ago that the war in Gaza will end in another Nakba, using the Arabic term for “catastrophe.”

The term Nakba is used by Palestinians and Muslims worldwide to refer to the 1948 expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land to establish the state of Israel.

Earlier in November, Smotrich sent a letter to Netanyahu calling for the formation of "sterile" zones in the West Bank, where Palestinians would be prevented from entering or harvesting olives.

Shoukry told the reporters today that these many recent “irresponsible” remarks by Israeli officials violate international humanitarian law.