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Far-right Israeli party to 'pay Palestinians to leave the West Bank'

Far-right Israeli politicians have long proposed measures to reduce the Palestinian population. [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 September, 2017

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A far-right nationalist party in Israel will launch a new online campaign to pay Palestinians to leave the occupied West Bank and move to neighbouring Arab countries.

A far-right nationalist party in Israel will launch a new online campaign to pay Palestinians to leave the occupied West Bank and move to neighbouring Arab countries.

The proposal was hatched by National Union-Tkuma politician Bezalel Smotrich, who serves as a Knesset member for the Jewish Home party.

The controversial polemicist has in the past backed segregated maternity wards for Palestinians and Israelis and once organised a homophobic 'Beast Parade' to protest gay pride.

The online funding campaign will support a diplomatic proposal promoted by Smotrich which envisions annexing the West Bank, dismantling the Palestinian Authority and doubling the Jewish population of the occupied territories.

"Even now, 20,000 Palestinians a year are leaving Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and surveys that they themselves conduct show that 30 percent hope to emigrate abroad", Smotrich said this week in an interview with Israel Hayom.

"I will help them, fairly and with full monetary compensation and not by force. It will be cheaper than the wars and military operations every few years," he added.

The ultimate objective of the plan is "to erase the paradigm of an independent Palestinian state from public consciousness and from reality", he said.

The National Union-Tkuma party will invest funds for advertising and marketing to promote the campaign, while a party conference next week will decide whether to adopt the plan as official policy.

Under the plan, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank would be granted Israeli citizenship if the territory was annexed under the condition they serve in the Israeli military.

Far-right Israeli politicians have long proposed similar measures to reduce the Palestinian population of the occupied territories as part of plans to annex the West Bank.

In recent years hard-line Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for Palestinian citizens in Israel to be transferred to the West Bank.

According to a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center around half of Israel's Jewish population support the transfer of Palestinians to other countries.

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