Gazans Say the Congo Option No Way!

Gaza Hunger

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is entertaining a very fanciful idea, no doubt some of it from his quirky mind and the extreme right in his cabinet about what to do with the Palestinians in Gaza after the war, presumably he will win that is!

He wants to ship all of the 2.2 million population to the Democratic Republic of Congo and has already started talking to its leaders about the fact. Netanyahu is telling the cabinet, and he is joyful about it, that he is already discussing the possibility of transferring the Palestinians to the Congo and some other African countries such as Rwanda and Chad.

Israeli newspapers are inundated with this latest preference made by Netanyahu and apparently, quite a lot of his government ministers such as the pernicious Amichay Eliyahu who holds the heritage portfolio and wants to nuke Gaza. His intensions are also being carried on the social media about what he wants to do next if he can.

This a big feat for Netanyahu who is obviously in the midst of his deadly war. His African escapade has obviously been brought about by two pernicious ministers in his government: Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich who want to resettle the Palestinians out of Gaza and then reoccupy the Strip and fill it with Jewish settlements, just as it was the case between 1967 and 2005.

However, the idea of resettling Gaza Palestinians is increasing among his Likud Party with Danny Danon, a former UN diplomat, talking about voluntary migration of the people of Gaza.

Too quick for this….

But aren’t Netanyahu and these men – apparently Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel has already drawn up a strategy to push Gazans into the Sinai Peninsula – are a little too quick? After all, Israeli is still in the midst of war, its ground troops are in different areas of the enclave fighting and getting clobbered and killed.

As things look at present, nobody is sure that Israel will come out winner in this war because of the bloody nose they are receiving. Despite official figures, thousands of Israelis are being killed, according to their Defense Ministry 12,000 soldiers are no longer fit for active duty and thousands are in trauma and in need of psychological treatment.

So, talk of transfer and resettlement, codewords for expulsion are far too early.

Despite the fact that Israeli politicians can mull over the idea as much as they want, it does not mean it’s going to happen. Indeed, such talk might be aimed for domestic Israeli consumption to alleviate the public tempo, people who are angry with Netanyahu and want him out of office.

In the beginning of the war such talks of transfer were finally quashed because of US pressure on the Israeli prime minister. Egypt and Jordan were up in arms because they see such a move as directly affecting them and against the pan-security interests of the Arab world.

However, today talk of expulsion is resurfacing in the Israeli government and hence appeal to Congo, other African countries and even Saudi Arabia is being heard although the international community is against such talk.

Annoyance and snub 

However, today the US government has restated its position, it is not in favor of the resettlement of the Palestinians and say they must remain in Gaza and would not support such a move under any circumstances. US State Department spokesman Mathew Miller says ‘this rhetoric is inflammatory and irresponsible”.

But Ben Gvir snubbed the White House, tweeting:

“I really admire the United States of America but with all due respect, we are not another star in the American flag.”

There has been much tension between the United States and Israel since 7 October when Israel started its war on Gaza. However, such strain in relations is often laid back because the USA is seen as the military backer of Israel in this war. The USA has maintained an ongoing military sea and airlift to Israel to fight the Palestinian resistance organizations.

As proof of the outward relations – displayed in the fact there are 2000 US soldiers in Israel acting as advisors and constant visits of American officials to Tel Aviv on top of which is US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – America and up till 26 December, 2023, supplied Israel with 230 cargo planes and 20 ships loaded with weapons and military equipment.

Many say the US is a conspirator in this war and have asked the question of how could they, therefore, act as honest brokers and stop the war? Despite the fact many countries, who previously supported Israel’s military action, are now calling for an urgent ceasefire after seeing the mass destruction of Gaza and the 22,600 plus killed. However, the USA is still sticking out on the ceasefire issue.

There is a snagging feeling that US officials hope, and according to the terrorism list, that Hamas will be destroyed but there is a problem here as well. The US National Security Coordinator John Kirby has recently said Hamas “still possesses significant military capabilities” even after 90 days of fighting in Gaza, realizing, therefore, they can’t be beaten.

He is actually echoing the view of many top Israelis like former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert who also feel the same. But they, like many top Israelis like Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have a bone to pick with Netanyahu who wants the war to continue in Gaza regardless of the fact that the Islamic organization lies in the hearts and minds of Palestinians.

Many say there is method in his madness. Like his erstwhile allies, Ben Gvir and Smotrich, Netanyahu doesn’t want to expel the Palestinians outrightly because using that word would upset the Americans so he talks about resettlement and voluntary emigration to actually mean outright expulsion.

And the way for that as said by the Israeli Intelligence Minister is to make Gaza uninhabitable. And how you do that? Bomb them 24/7. Make sure everything is bombed, homes, houses, buildings, shops, hospitals, roads, mosques, churches, everything under the sky. This would force people to say “I can’t bear it.” That is voluntary emigration and the Israelis would say “this is a humanitarian solution,” and Palestinians are doing it of their own accord.

But Palestinians keep saying they will not leave, even if they live on the debris and wreckage of their destroyed homes. It’s a battle of popular will, rather than politics which means Israel can kiss the Congo idea of voluntary emigration goodbye.

Marwan Asmar, who has a Phd from the UK’s Leeds University, has long worked in journalism in Jordan and the Gulf countries.

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