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War on Gaza: Tony Blair reportedly tapped to relocate Palestinian refugees from Gaza

According to Israel's Channel 12 news, the former British prime minister met with Netanyahu and Gantz to discuss Blair's role in finding countries to receive refugees from Gaza
Tony Blair speaks onstage during the 2023 Concordia Annual Summit at Sheraton New York on 19 September in New York City. (Riccardo Savi/AFP)

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly being tapped as the head of an Israeli initiative seeking to encourage other countries to take in Palestinians fleeing Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, according to Israel’s Channel 12 news. 

Channel 12, without citing a source, has reported that Blair recently met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz to go over the possibility of the former British leader taking charge of where Palestinian refugees from Gaza could be relocated. 

Journalist Barak Ravid, in a post to X, said that Blair's office had denied the reports. 

"Reports that Mr Blair has anything to do with the voluntary evacuation of Gazans is simply not true, there has been no such discussion nor would he consider it," Ravid quoted a Blair spokesperson as saying. 

The Israeli government has not made official comments regarding post-war refugee efforts. 

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Most of the Palestinian population in Gaza - 1.8 million people - have been displaced since Israel began its bombardment three months ago. 

On Saturday the Wall Street Journal reported that 70 percent of Gaza's homes and half of the enclave's buildings have been damaged or destroyed in Israeli air strikes. 

So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 21,800 people, including 9,100 children, the government media office in the Gaza Strip reported on Sunday. 

Civilians and health officials in Gaza have repeatedly stated that they believe the number of those killed is far higher than what is being published by the Ministry of Health, due to people being trapped under the rubble and a lack of access to healthcare facilities and hospitals. 

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For his part, Netanyahu recently said he planned to continue the deadly offensive in Gaza for “many more months”. 

"The war is at its height. We are fighting on all of the fronts. Achieving victory will require time. As the (army) chief of staff has said, the war will continue," he said in a televised speech on Sunday.

With goals to completely eradicate the Hamas government, Netanyahu also said that Israel should take over Gaza’s border with Egypt and close any access points. 

Meanwhile, far right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told Israel's Army Radio on Saturday that there will be an exodus of Palestinians and instead Israelis "will live in the Gaza Strip".

"We will not allow a situation in which two million people live there. If there are 100,000 to 200,000 Arabs living in Gaza, the discussion about the day after will be completely different," he added.

"I'm for completely changing the reality in Gaza, having a conversation about settlements in the Gaza Strip… We'll need to rule there for a long time… If we want to be there militarily, we need to be there in a civilian fashion," he said.

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