A new congressional initiative in Washington calls for American aid to Arab countries to be conditioned on willingness to absorb refugees from Gaza. The plan was presented to senior House and Senate officials from both parties and received their blessing. The person who has publicly welcomed and promoted the proposal is longtime Representative Joey Wilson. His partners are seeking to keep a low profile at this stage, on the grounds that media prominence could torpedo the proposal.
Residents march towards the southern Gaza Strip: Israel Hayom correspondent in Gaza \\ Dana Ben Shimon
"Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians, but Hamas does not allow refugees to leave and Egypt does not agree to open its borders," the plan's authors write. The U.S. government provides Egypt with about $1.3 billion in foreign aid, and these funds can be allocated to refugees from Gaza who are allowed to enter Egypt.
The neighboring borders have been closed for too long, but it is now clear that in order to free the Gaza population from Hamas' tyrannical oppression and allow them to live without war and bloodshed, Israel must encourage the international community to find the right, moral and humane ways to transfer the Gaza population."
Palestinians exposed to destruction in Gaza, Photo: AP
But Egypt must not be the only country," they add. "Iraq and Yemen receive about $150 billion in U.S. foreign aid, and Turkey receives more than $1 million. Each of these countries receives enough foreign aid and has a population large enough to be able to absorb refugees who accumulate to less than <>% of their population."
The plan's authors call on the U.S. government to allocate this financial aid to Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and Turkey, provided they accept a certain number of refugees.
The plan specifies the number of Gazans each country will receive: one million in Egypt (0.9 percent of the population there), half a million in Turkey (0.6 percent of the Turks), 250,000 in Iraq (0.6 percent of the Turks), and another 250,000 in Yemen (0.75 percent of the Yemenis). Each of these countries receives extensive financial aid from the United States, and according to the planners, its continuation should be conditional on acceptance of Gazans. It should be noted that the administration opposes the forced removal of Gaza residents from the Gaza Strip but does not deny voluntary emigration of those who wish to do so.
The ratio of population and aid received by Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and Turkey,
"This will not be the first time that other countries will accept refugees. According to the UNHCR database, since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for example, more than 6 million Ukrainians have fled the country. Poland has received nearly 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees, Germany has received almost a million and the Czech Republic close to half a million. Also, since 2011 and the ongoing Syrian civil war, 6.7 million Syrians have fled Syria to disperse throughout the surrounding countries. 3.2 million Syrian refugees have been transferred to Turkey, 789,000 have found refuge in Lebanon, 653,000 in Jordan and 150,000 in Egypt, while other countries in the Middle East and Europe have received hundreds of thousands."
The authors of the document note that UNRWA is a problematic factor perpetuating the conflict, unlike the UN refugee agency, which resettles refugees around the world. "UNRWA is renewed under the UN mandate every 3 years and receives funding mainly from the US, Canada, the UK and the EU, all of which are enthusiastic supporters of Israel. This is an organization that spreads the refugee narrative, has halted the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees for more than seventy years and in fact deepened the refugee crisis, and therefore must be shut down."
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