Netanyahu wants to expel Palestinian families to Gaza

Netanyahu wants to expel Palestinian families to Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking powers to expel the families of 'Palestinian attackers' to Gaza, his office said Wednesday.
2 min read
02 March, 2016
An Israeli minister has also called for families to be expelled to Syria [Getty]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his attorney general to examine the possibility of expelling relatives of Palestinians who carry out operations against Israel to the Gaza Strip, his office said Wednesday.

"Expelling family members of Palestinian terrorists who aided attacks to Gaza will lead to a significant decrease in terrorist attacks," a spokesman for Netanyahu said on Twitter.

A wave of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories since October has killed at least 187 Palestinians and 27 Israelis, as well as an American and an Eritrean. 

The Gaza Strip, hit by three wars with Israel since 2008 and run by Islamist movement Hamas, is under an Israeli blockade that severely restricts the movement of people and goods.

It also has one of the world's highest unemployment rates, and the UN development agency said in September that conditions in the strip could make it uninhabitable by 2020.

Israeli attorney general Avichai Mandelblit has reportedly said previously that such expulsions would violate both Israeli and international law.

Mandelblit was said to have rejected the idea after a member of Netanyahu's cabinet who is also a political rival of the prime minister requested expelling relatives of attackers to Gaza or Syria.

Netanyahu has come under heavy pressure from right-wing members of his coalition over the continuing wave of violence.

"It seems obvious that the prime minister is under a lot of pressure from the right now, from politicians accusing him of being soft against the wave of attacks," said Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

"Any form of collective punishment is illegal and in this case the point is trying to punish the relatives of attackers who aren't actually accused of anything." 

"This is a complete breach of international law and the Geneva Convention," added Michaeli.

Further violence occurred earlier Wednesday when two 18-year-old Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops after infiltrating a West Bank settlement and wounding a settler, the military said.

Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fed the unrest.