We are deeply concerned by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stated intention to expel the families of West Bank Palestinians who have attacked Israelis to the Gaza Strip.
If carried out, such moves would be a clear and outrageous example of collective punishment, and would in all likelihood violate international law against collective punishment and the forced transfer of protected people from occupied territory. Like home demolitions of the families of Palestinian terrorists, which the Israeli government has recently resumed carrying out, such acts of retribution fuel further despair and extremism. Acts like these exacerbate Israel’s international isolation while doing nothing to enhance Israeli security.
Expelling people to Gaza expressly as a form of punishment feeds the perception that Israeli policy toward Gaza constitutes collective punishment and that some in the Israeli government regard the Strip as little more than an open-air prison. The Israeli government should be giving its attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and aiming to reduce the threat from Hamas extremism — not deporting even more people there in a misguided attempt to address security concerns in the West Bank.
We urge the Government of Israel not to take this disastrous step.