Rwanda, Congo deny claims of talking with Israel to take in displaced Gazans

Rwanda, Congo, and Chad have refuted claims that they have engaged in any discussions with Israel concerning the potential acceptance of Palestinians displaced from the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Citing the latest fake news campaign from Israel, the Rwanda foreign ministry circulated a “disinformation alert” against the Zman Yisrael, an Israeli news outlet and The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site, that had claimed on Friday that “Israel is in talks with Chad and Rwanda to accept thousands of Palestinians from Gaza.”

“No such discussion has taken place either now or in the past, and the disinformation should be ignored,” the statement from the Rwanda foreign ministry read on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier, Congo and Chad also denied holding talks with Israel about the forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.

Contrary to what is reported in some media, there has “never been any form of negotiation, discussion, or initiative” between Kinshasa and Israel on the alleged reception of Palestinian migrants on Congolese soil, the Congolese government spokesperson, Patrick Muyaya, said in a statement late Thursday.

In its report, The Times of Israel asserted that Congo is willing to take in Palestinians. Quoting from a senior source in the security cabinet, it claimed that Congo “will be willing to take in migrants, and we’re in talks with others.”

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is conducting secret contacts for accepting thousands of immigrants from Gaza with Congo, in addition to other nations,” the report read.

Meanwhile, The Times of Israel published another report on Thursday, stating that Israel has denied that it is in talks with other countries about absorbing Gazan immigrants, and that the senior official pushed back on Zman Yisrael’s report.

“It’s a baseless illusion in my opinion. No country will absorb 2 million people, or 1 million, or 100,000, or 5,000. I don’t know where that idea came from,” said the official in a briefing to Israeli journalists, on condition of anonymity, as the report stated.

According to reports, the Israeli regime is adopting the “voluntary” resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza as an official policy.

Earlier, Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports the idea but needs to find countries that are willing to “absorb” Gazans. “We are working on it,” he said.

While quoting a senior Israeli official, the report from Zman Yisrael also stated that whoever volunteers for migration would be handed over a “generous financial grant” and “extensive aid” to the receiving country.

“The principle is to give a generous financial grant to any Palestinian who expresses a desire to emigrate from Gaza, along with extensive aid to the receiving country, including military aid,” the report read.

On Wednesday, despite criticisms from the United States, Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism Party, doubled down on a call for “voluntary emigration” from Gaza once the current war on Gaza ends.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the so-called national security minister, this week issued a call “to encourage the migration of Gaza residents” as a “solution” to the humanitarian crisis.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top foreign policy official, condemned both Smotrich and Ben Gvir for their calls to resettle Palestinians living in Gaza as “inflammatory and irresponsible” on Wednesday.

“Forced displacements are strictly prohibited as a grave violation of [international humanitarian law] and words matter,” Borrell said on X.

A spokesperson for the United Kingdom foreign office said: “Gaza is Occupied Palestinian Territory and will be part of a future Palestinian state. The UK firmly rejects any suggestion of the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza.”

Furthermore, the Spanish government also offered its own rebuke Wednesday, saying the administration rejects recent statements by Israeli authorities evoking population movements in Gaza that would be contrary to international law.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7.

Since the beginning of the war, at least 22,600 Palestinians have since been killed and 57,910 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities.

The relentless attacks have caused extensive devastation in Gaza, resulting in 60% of the region’s infrastructure being either damaged or completely destroyed.

This has led to the displacement of nearly 2 million residents, who now face severe shortages of essential resources such as food, clean water, and medicine.

(Originally published on Press TV)

Mehdi Moosvi

Mehdi Moosvi

Mehdi Moosvi is an Indian journalist and researcher based in Tehran, who writes on international relations.

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