Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stated there were no plans to expel Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, following comments by members of the Israeli cabinet that appeared to allude to such a move.
Rivlin told reporters at a press conference on Monday that the country had no intention of expelling Palestinians, and that any talk of doing so was merely “speculation.”
The comments come after a recent surge in violence in the region, with Hamas launching rockets into Israel and Israel carrying out airstrikes in Gaza. Earlier this month Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett declared that if the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, “there will be no choice but to uproot the population of the Gaza Strip” in order to guarantee the security of Israeli citizens.
Following this, Education Minister Rafi Peretz made remarks suggesting the surrounding Arab countries could host Palestinians exiled from the Gaza Strip.
Rivlin strongly condemned these comments, saying they did not reflect the Israeli government’s position on the conflict. He noted that Israel had no intention of reversing the Oslo Accords, which provided Palestinians limited autonomy in the region.
The Israeli president added that when it comes to dealing with the conflict, “A diplomatic solution is the only way forward,” and that “violence and war are not the answer.”