Wednesday

28th Feb 2024

UN joins EU outcry on Israel's Gaza-expulsion rhetoric

  • Vast swathes of Gaza becoming uninhabitable after three months of Israeli bombing (Photo: UNRWA)
Listen to article

The UN and leading Arab states have followed EU condemnation of Israeli talk about moving Palestinians out of Gaza.

"International law prohibits forcible transfer of protected persons within or deportation from occupied territory," said UN human rights chief Volker Turk on Thursday (4 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He was "very disturbed" by Israeli statements on the issue, he added.

Regional powers Qatar and Saudi Arabia also denounced Israel's remarks.

They amounted to "toxic attempts to block the way to peace opportunities, especially the two-state solution", Qatar said.

Saudi Arabia said Israel's "extremist remarks" merited greater international intervention in the Gaza war.

They spoke out after a senior Israeli official briefed national press on Wednesday that Israel was in talks with African countries to take in Gaza refugees.

Another Israeli official denied it later the same day.

But Israeli national-security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and finance minister Bezalel Smotrich have also called for "voluntary" and "humanitarian" migration out of Gaza.

And realities on the ground point in this direction, given that most of Gaza is becoming uninhabitable for its 2.3 million people following three months of Israeli bombing.

For his part, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell also denounced Israel's rhetoric on Wednesday.

"Forced displacements are strictly prohibited as a grave violation of [international humanitarian law] and words matter," he said.

Spain said the same day it "rejects recent statements by members of the government of Israel evoking population movements in Gaza that would be contrary to international law".

"Gaza is Occupied Palestinian Territory and will be part of a future Palestinian state," the UK foreign office said.

Analysis

Understanding EU's silence on ICJ Gaza 'genocide' case

The EU's silence on South Africa's legal challenge of "genocidal intent" against Israel underscores the geo-political tensions between the West and the Global South that risk being exacerbated by the conflict.

Opinion

For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive

The EU Commission's 2022 CSDDD proposal did not include provisions incorporating "conflict due diligence", they were added, after the Russian invasion, by the European Parliament and Council into the final directive text — for Ukraine's sake, vote for it.

Latest News

  1. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  2. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  3. MEPs adopt new transparency rules for political ads
  4. EU nature restoration law approved after massive backlash
  5. Memo from Munich — EU needs to reinvent democracy support
  6. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  7. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  8. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us