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‘Israelis turned Palestine into hell’: Sri Lankan evacuees fear for family in Gaza

JAKARTA: Indonesia urged the international community on Saturday to prevent Israeli ministers’ plans for the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and the building of Israeli settlements in the besieged territory.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have repeatedly called for the emigration of 2.3 million Palestinians from Gaza, where three months of Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks have killed at least 22,600 people, wounded nearly 60,000 others, and destroyed most infrastructure.

Earlier this week, Ben Gvir told reporters that the war in Gaza presented an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza,” which he said was “a correct, just, moral and humane” solution.

At the same time, Smotrich said that Israel “will permanently control the territory of the Gaza Strip” and urged to move Gaza’s residents to “countries that will agree to take in the refugees.”

The statements drew international outrage as the forced displacement of civilians from occupied territory is prohibited under the Geneva Convention and is prosecutable as a war crime.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the ministers’ plans disregarded the rights of the Palestinians and were in violation of international law.

“Indonesia condemns and rejects the statements made by two Israeli ministers calling for the displacement of the people of Gaza as well as the construction of Jewish settlements in Gaza,” it said.

“(The) international community must prevent this agenda from becoming a reality.”

Indonesia is a staunch supporter of Palestine, with its people and government seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by their own constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.

Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza for the past three months has destroyed or damaged some 70 percent of Gaza’s homes, according to last week’s report by the Wall Street Journal.

Most of the water, electrical and health care infrastructure that made the territory function is now beyond repair.

On Friday, the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, said that “Gaza has simply become uninhabitable” as people faced famine and a public health disaster.

“Medical facilities are under relentless attack. The few hospitals that are partially functional are overwhelmed with trauma cases, critically short of all supplies, and inundated by desperate people seeking safety,” he said.

“Its people are witnessing daily threats to their very existence — while the world watches on.”

Source: Arab News

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