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الموقع تحت الإنشاء

النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

On the Brink of another displacement crisis in the Arab world
GNQP’s Statement


The Global Network on the Question of Palestine (GNQP) strongly condemns the catastrophic forced transfer and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, caused by the ongoing assault by the Israeli military. There is a serious risk of mass deportation outside of Gaza as people are forced further south. These Israeli actions amount to atrocity crimes, whose commission the international community is obligated to prevent. To this end, the international community must demand and enforce a permanent ceasefire. Reports of a ‘buffer zone’ being set up outside Rafah in anticipation of further displacement outside of Gaza highlight the urgency for the international community to act.


Approximately 1.9 million of the 2.3 million Gazans have been internally displaced, many more than once, as a result of Israeli action. Over half of them have been forced into the south of Gaza. More than one million Palestinians in Gaza no longer have a home to which to return. Over 70% of homes and more than half of all Gaza’s buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The ICJ affirmed that forced displacement, when taking place in circumstances calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the group, may also constitute genocide (Croatia v. Serbia, 2015, para. 163).


It must be noted the majority of the population of Gaza (roughly 77%) are descendants of the refugees expelled before and during the Nakba, who were and are being denied their right to return. Many in the Gaza Strip have been internally displaced as a result of multiple Israeli attacks on Gaza since 2008. Israel’s deliberate practices of forced displacement since before 1948, which include wanton destruction and attacks on designated shelters, have been extensively documented. Particularly in the context of this current assault, Palestinians seeking safety should also be given access to Israel.


Several evacuation orders were issued since October 2023, purportedly to encourage civilians to flee to so-called ‘safe zones’, but civilians were attacked in these areas as well; for example, in Rafah, one recent attack killed 95 civilians, including 42 children. On the 12th of February, 68 Palestinians, including 19 children, were killed in yet another bomb attack on Rafah. The death toll is currently estimated to be at least 29,000. The ongoing military assault, siege, and destruction of homes and other civilian infrastructure, including damage to agricultural lands, hospitals, and water and sewage systems, has made Gaza unlivable. Israel’s plan for the forced transfer of hundreds of thousands of people ahead of a ground invasion would push the population into forced and protracted displacement in Egypt, with few to no prospects for repatriation. Reports of Israel’s construction of an east-west road bisecting Gaza in order to maintain its grip over the Strip risks further forced displacement of Palestinians. Paula Gaviria Betancur, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, has warned that “Israel is seeking to permanently alter the composition of Gaza’s population with ever-expanding evacuation orders and widespread and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in southern areas of the besieged enclave.” The forced transfer of Palestinians since even before 1948 to this current crisis through, inter alia, mass exodus, forced displacement, expulsion, and involuntary resettlement, has been concurrent with replacement and colonization. The rhetoric of Israeli officials and politicians encouraging ethnic cleansing of Gaza has been widely documented.


The intensified bombardment of Rafah and looming forced displacement in and outside of Gaza of Palestinians seeking shelter in so-called safe zones will lead to irreparable harm. As the International Court of Justice stated in response to South Africa’s request for further provisional measures:


The Court notes that the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General (Remarks to the General Assembly on priorities for 2024 (Feb. 2024)).


This perilous situation demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024 which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah…


It should be noted that Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are also victims of forced displacement by Israel: since 7 October, more than 600 structures were demolished in the West Bank, including over 250 residential buildings, resulting in the displacement of at least 1,500 Palestinians, accompanied by increasing settler violence and arbitrary detentions, against men and boys, women and girls. This direct and indirect forced displacement of Palestinians throughout the entire occupied Palestinian territory is a part of the overall settler-colonial and apartheid regime imposed upon the Palestinian people as a whole.

It is a war crime for an occupying power to transfer or deport the population of the occupied territory within or outside the territory, or to displace the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict. Issuing ineffective evacuation orders does not remove the responsibility of Israel to abide by the principles of distinction, proportionality, and necessity. The current displacement is the latest and most egregious manifestation of Israeli policies since 1948, where Palestinians were forced to flee and prevented from returning to their homes, in violation of international law. Israel’s current military onslaught, the broader occupation, policies of apartheid, and forced displacement are violations of the Palestinian right to self-determination, and may be considered war crimes, crimes against humanity, and to constitute elements of genocide.


We call upon States to:

  • Call for an immediate, unconditional, and permanent ceasefire;
  • Use lawful countermeasures, such as sanctions and trade embargos, in order to induce Israel to cease its breaches of international law and to comply with its obligations;
  • Intervene to protect Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank against internal and external forced displacement, and other violations;
  • Ensure that the Palestinian right to return is safeguarded;
  • Hold Israeli officials to account in international and domestic courts through universal jurisdiction;
  • Support the vital services of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), by increasing or reinstating funding;
  • Ensure restitution and reparations for damage and injury related to the unlawful assault and resulting from violations of international humanitarian law and other violations of international law.