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Israel’s president says expelling Palestinians not the plan

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“I’m saying outright, officially and unequivocally, this is not the Israeli position,” President Isaac Herzog said.

Israel’s president said Sunday that the expulsion of Palestinians is not the government’s official policy, even though some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have called for exactly that.

“I’m saying outright, officially and unequivocally, this is not the Israeli position,” President Isaac Herzog said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“A minister can say whatever he wants. I may not like it, but this is Israeli politics,” Herzog told host Kristen Welker.

Months after Hamas’ Oct. 7 incursion into Israel led to an Israeli invasion of Gaza, total casualties on both sides now exceed 24,000 dead, most of them in Gaza. Even as fighting in Gaza winds down, it’s not clear what the future will hold for either Gaza or Israel itself, and some in Israel’s government have suggested that moving much the Palestinian population out of Gaza could be part of the solution.

The United States has said that idea is not acceptable: “The United States rejects recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza. This rhetoric is inflammatory and irresponsible,”
the State Department said last week.

On Sunday, Herzog said the world should keep in mind what Israel has gone through in recent months, citing the hostages taken on Oct. 7, more than 100 of whom are still being held.

“We should remember, however, the national psyche here. We are in deep trauma in the last three months. We have seen so much agony, pain, and sadness,” he said, adding: “Our nation is bereaving, is worried, is agonized, and we are doing whatever we can to do whatever it takes to bring back these hostages.”

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