The Israeli Heritage Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, has sparked outrage with his suggestion that Israel could potentially launch a nuclear strike on Gaza. The controversial remarks have led to widespread condemnation in both Israel and Palestine. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended Eliyahu indefinitely from all government meetings.
During a Sunday interview with Radio Kol Berama, Eliyahu was asked if Israel could drop an atomic bomb on Gaza. In his response, the minister, who belongs to the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, stated that “this is one of the possibilities.” These remarks have caused significant uproar, particularly considering the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza.
Eliyahu further expressed opposition to providing aid to the inhabitants of Gaza. He compared the situation to not offering humanitarian aid to the Nazis and argued that there were no uninvolved civilians in Gaza. Eliyahu’s comments have been met with widespread condemnation and criticism for their lack of empathy and disregard for innocent lives.
Shortly after Eliyahu’s controversial remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the suspension of the minister. In a statement released by his office, Netanyahu emphasized that Eliyahu’s statements were not based in reality. He reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to operating in accordance with international law to prevent harm to innocent civilians.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also condemned Eliyahu’s remarks, describing them as “baseless and irresponsible.” Gallant expressed relief that individuals with such views were not in charge of Israel’s security. Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized Eliyahu’s extremist views and the negative impact they had on Israeli society, urging Netanyahu to remove the minister from his post.
Hamas, the Palestinian political organization, also responded to Eliyahu’s remarks. They labeled his comments as an expression of the occupiers’ Nazism and genocide practices. Hamas argued that these statements were a result of Israel’s failure to effectively respond to Palestinian resistance.
In an attempt to control the damage caused by his statements, Eliyahu claimed that his comment about the atom was metaphorical. He maintained, however, that Israel must respond forcefully and disproportionately to terrorism. Additionally, he argued that such a response would discourage the Nazis and their supporters from engaging in terrorism.
It is important to note that Israel has neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons. However, it is widely believed that Israel has had nuclear capabilities since the late 1960s. According to estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Israel is believed to have a total of 90 warheads.
The remarks made by Minister Eliyahu have generated significant controversy and condemnation, both domestically and internationally. The incident highlights the delicate political and humanitarian situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with calls for a more measured and empathetic approach to resolve the ongoing tensions.