White House considers accepting some Palestinians from Gaza as refugees amid Israel-Hamas war

The Biden administration is considering welcoming some Palestinians to the United States as refugees as they seek to escape war-torn Gaza amid the ongoing Middle East war between Israel and Hamas.

Senior officials from several U.S. federal agencies have discussed details in recent weeks of potential options for accepting Palestinians from Gaza whose immediate family members are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States, according to internal federal government documents. according to CBS News.

One proposal is to use the U.S. refugee admissions program to welcome Palestinians with U.S. connections who have fled Gaza and entered neighboring Egypt, the documents reveal.

U.S. officials have also considered welcoming more Palestinians out of Gaza and treating them as refugees if they have American relatives, according to the documents. This proposal should be based on coordination with Egypt, which has so far been reluctant to welcome large numbers of Gazans.


President Joe Biden speaking at the podium

US President Joe Biden, March 31, 2022. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/archive photo)

People from Gaza who pass a series of eligibility, medical and security screenings would be eligible to be flown to the United States with refugee status, which includes permanent residency, resettlement benefits like aid housing and a path to American citizenship.

The number of eligible people is expected to be relatively small, but the proposed plans could provide a lifeline for some Palestinians seeking to escape the war between Israel and Hamas.

This, as the Hamas-led government's Ministry of Health estimates, 34,000 dead, more than 77,000 injured and hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced in Gaza.

Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people, prompting military retaliation from Israeli forces. Hamas has also kidnapped more than 200 people, many of whom remain in captivity.

“Since the start of the conflict, the United States has helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza, many of whom came to the United States,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “Under President Biden's leadership, we have also helped, and will continue to help, some particularly vulnerable people, such as children with serious health conditions and children who were receiving cancer treatment, to get out of harm's way. danger and to receive care in neighboring hospitals in the region.”

House Republicans urge Biden to pressure ICC not to charge Netanyahu, Israeli officials with war crimes

Al-Shifa Hospital

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike near al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, March 28, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

“The United States also continues to be the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Gaza to address the dire conditions, and we are pushing to get the most urgent aid to more people as quickly as possible “, continued the spokesperson. “We have also been clear and consistent: the United States categorically rejects any action leading to the forced resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank or the redrawing of Gaza's borders. The best path forward is to achieve a ceasefire -sustained fire through a hostage agreement that will stabilize the situation and pave the way for a two-state solution.

The proposals also come after President Biden issued a memorandum in February on the delayed forced departure of some Palestinians who were already in the United States.

The plan to bring some Palestinians to the United States as refugees would represent a change in long-standing U.S. government policy and practice, as the U.S. refugee program has not resettled large numbers of Palestinians. Palestinians since its creation in 1980.

Over the past decade, the United States has resettled more than 400,000 refugees fleeing violence and war around the world, but fewer than 600 were Palestinian. In fiscal year 2023, the United States accepted 56 Palestinian refugees out of more than 60,000 refugees resettled during that 12-month period, according to State Department data.

For applicants to enter the United States as refugees, they must prove that they are fleeing persecution based on certain factors, such as nationality, religion or political views.

Israeli attacks on Gaza

Smoke billows after the Israeli army launched an airstrike on the Al Mughraqa area in the Gaza Strip on April 14, 2024. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)


The administration's plans to take in Palestinian refugees, even if they are only a small number, could draw criticism from Republican lawmakers seeking to make the illegal immigration crisis at the border American-Mexican a central issue before the November elections.

Shortly after Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, senior Republican officials said the United States should not take in Palestinian refugees, saying they were anti-Semitic and a potential national security risk.

In recent years, the Biden administration has significantly increased refugee resettlement. Officials have set a goal of accepting up to 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2024, which ends at the end of September.

Refugee resettlement has been reduced to a record low under the Trump administration.


Leave a Comment