Israel planned to pay Palestinians to move to Paraguay after 1967 war: report

Israel planned to pay Palestinians to move to Paraguay after 1967 war: report
The newly revealed documents show how Israeli officials proposed offering Palestinians money to 'relocate' to the South American country.
2 min read
12 August, 2020
An archival photo showing Palestinian refugees at the Jordanian border in 1969 [AFP/Getty]
Israel proposed "resettling" as many as 60,000 Palestinians in Paraguay after the 1967 war, a new report has revealed.

The Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency, suggested the government could pay for thousands of Palestinians to move to Paraguay over the course of four years following Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, government minutes published by Israeli public broadcaster KAN show.

The 1967 proposal was conveyed to then-Prime Minister Golda Meir by Zvi Zamir, who was head of the Mossad at the time.

The proposal was reportedly developed alongside the Paraguayan government.

Paraguay, at that time governed by the right-wing Colorado Party, agreed to "absorb" 60,000 Palestinian Muslims, "who by definition are not communist", Zamir said in the newly revealed minutes.

Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner was accused of severe human rights violations including torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial murders, as well as leading a genocidal campaign against the indigenous peoples of the country.

"This is confirmed in a letter from the Ministry of Immigration, with an agreement attached to it that does not appear in the letter from the Ministry of Immigration," the minutes published by KAN quote the Mossad chief as saying.

The Israeli government would pay for the travel expenses of each Palestinian, the minutes said, as well as giving them $100 each for basic living costs.

Israel would also pay the Paraguayan government $33 per new Palestinian immigrant, not including an initial fee of $350,000 for the "relocation" of the first 10,000 Palestinians.

The Palestinians would be granted residence on arrival and a path to citizenship within five years, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The plan was approved the same year that the Mossad stopped its Nazi-hunting operations abroad, including in Paraguay.

Several Nazi fugitives were living in Paraguay at the time, including Josef Mengele, the infamous "Angel of Death".

Paraguay has not yet commented on the newly revealed proposal.

According to The Jerusalem Post, just 33 Palestinians were sent to Paraguay under the deal.

Two of them shot and killed an Israeli embassy worker in 1970, reportedly putting about an end to the policy.

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