Kushner’s Gaza ‘cleansing’ plan: ‘Waterfront property could be very valuable’

Jared Kushner proposed relocating the civilian population of Gaza to either Egypt or Israel's Negev desert as a solution to the ongoing conflict, a suggestion that critics have condemned as a call for ethnic cleansing.

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Image Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

Jared Kushner, former senior advisor to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, has ignited a firestorm of controversy with his recent statements regarding the Gaza Strip. In a candid interview with Harvard University’s Tarek Masoud, Kushner proposed relocating the civilian population of Gaza to either Egypt or Israel’s Negev desert as a solution to the ongoing conflict, a suggestion that critics have condemned as a call for ethnic cleansing.

Kushner, who played a pivotal role in shaping Trump’s Middle East policy, articulated a vision that starkly deviates from conventional diplomatic norms. His assertion that Rafah’s civilian populace should be moved to facilitate a military “cleanup” of the area has raised alarm bells among human rights advocates and international observers alike.

The former White House advisor’s remarks came during a broader discussion on the Middle East, where he also highlighted the economic potential of Gaza’s “waterfront property.” According to Kushner, the region could be highly valuable if not for the current conflict and prioritization of military infrastructure over civilian development. This perspective, focusing on the commercial rather than humanitarian implications of the conflict, has further fueled criticism of Kushner’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Kushner’s interview not only sheds light on his personal views but also offers a glimpse into the potential direction of U.S. foreign policy should Trump secure a second term. His comments echo Trump’s own provocative statements, urging Israel to “finish the problem” in Gaza, thereby suggesting a continuity of hardline stances towards the Palestinian territory.

The implications of Kushner’s proposals are profound. Relocating over 1.5 million people from an area as densely populated as Rafah presents a logistical and ethical nightmare. Critics argue that such a move would not only be impracticable but would also constitute a gross violation of international law, particularly the principles concerning forced population transfers.

Human rights organizations have been quick to respond, with many denouncing Kushner’s ideas as tantamount to advocating for ethnic cleansing. The notion of bulldozing parts of the Negev to accommodate displaced Gazans, as Kushner suggested, has been met with disbelief and condemnation from various quarters, including within Israel itself.

Kushner’s casual dismissal of concerns about the potential permanence of such relocations — evidenced by his flippant “maybe” when asked if Israel would prevent Gazans from returning — has only added to the outrage. His comments betray a lack of consideration for the humanitarian implications of his proposals and a dismissive attitude towards the rights and dignity of Gaza’s inhabitants.

Despite Kushner’s claims of Israel’s efforts to protect civilians, the reality on the ground tells a different story. The ongoing blockade and frequent military engagements have resulted in significant civilian casualties and suffering, casting doubt on Kushner’s assertions of benevolent intent.

Kushner’s remarks have not only sparked a debate but have also brought to light the intricate challenges facing any resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With over 1.5 million residents, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. The suggestion to relocate such a vast number of people, as proposed by Kushner, raises significant logistical, legal, and ethical questions. The international community, bound by conventions and treaties, has consistently advocated for the protection of civilian populations, especially in conflict zones, making Kushner’s proposal a contentious one.

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