Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and several other Arab states have expressed their condemnation of Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu for his suggestion that Israel should use a nuclear bomb on Gaza. Eliyahu, a member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, made this statement during an interview with Radio Kol Berama on Sunday. The Saudi Foreign Ministry has described Eliyahu’s remarks as showing the “extremism and brutality” of the Israeli government.
In response to his comments, Eliyahu was suspended indefinitely by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, although he was not fired. This decision has led to criticism from Arab nations, with the Saudi Foreign Ministry stating that it reflects the Israeli government’s disregard for humanity, morality, religion, and law.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also condemned Eliyahu’s statements, highlighting that they violate international law and incite grave violations of International Humanitarian Law, such as war crimes. The UAE expressed concerns about a potential intent to commit genocide. Jordan echoed these sentiments, describing Eliyahu’s comments as a call for genocide and a hate crime that cannot be ignored. The Qatari Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the threat made by the Israeli minister, considering it a serious incitement to a war crime.
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit emphasized that Eliyahu’s remarks confirmed the widely-known fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. He also stated that these comments expose the racist view held by Israelis against Palestinians, adding that this is the true face of the Israeli occupation government.
Within Israel, Eliyahu faced significant criticism for his remarks. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant condemned his words as baseless and irresponsible, while opposition leader Yair Lapid called for his dismissal, citing the harm caused to Israeli society, the families of hostages, and the country’s international standing.
The Israeli military has faced further scrutiny for its actions in Gaza. According to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor NGO, the Israeli bombardment and ground offensive have resulted in the drop of more than 25,000 tons of explosives on Gaza since October 7. This amount of explosives is equivalent in power to two nuclear bombs, similar to those used on Hiroshima. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that more than 10,000 people have been killed and 25,000 injured as a result of the Israeli campaign. The military operation in Gaza was launched as a response to a surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7, which resulted in the death of around 1,400 people in Israel and the hostage-taking of approximately 240 individuals, who were taken to Gaza.
The international community is closely monitoring the situation and calling for an deescalation of the conflict, urging all parties to adhere to international law and prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians in the region.