Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz, a key ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recently gave an interview in which he characterized Israel’s military campaign in Gaza as part of a “World War III against radical Islam.” He also claimed that if the United States had faced a similar attack from Hamas, it would have obliterated the Palestinian enclave. Katz defended Israel’s response to the attack by the Palestinian militant group, stating that it was necessary to protect Israeli territory. However, concerns have been raised about the potential harm to civilians and the long-term consequences of the conflict.
In the interview with German tabloid Bild, Minister Katz, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, referred to the Hamas raid on October 7 as a “Nazi attack.” He further described the ongoing hostilities as a “third world war against radical Islam – with Russian involvement,” without elaborating on the alleged connection to Moscow. Katz emphasized that Iran is the primary adversary of Israel in this global conflict, accusing Tehran of using proxy forces, some of which have allegedly infiltrated Western nations. However, Iran has denied direct involvement in the Hamas operation.
The breach of Israeli national security caused by the Hamas attack has heightened tensions between Iran and Israel. The two nations have been engaged in a bitter proxy war for nearly 40 years, with Prime Minister Netanyahu actively seeking to undermine attempts to normalize relations with Iran during the Obama administration. While Katz refrained from commenting on Russian involvement, he stressed that the war against radical Islam extends to Europe, particularly within radical communities, and that Iran plays a significant role in this conflict.
Minister Katz defended Israel’s tactics in Gaza, including cutting off crucial supplies and bombarding the densely populated Palestinian territory. He argued that Israel has no interest in starving civilians and claimed that the country operates the “most moral military in the world.” Katz went on to allege that many countries would have completely destroyed their neighbor in response to similar events. As an example, he stated that if there had been an attack from Mexico on Texas in the US, Mexico would cease to exist.
Comparisons have been drawn between the Hamas attack and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. US leadership has likened the events as triggering a tectonic shift in Washington’s foreign policy, resulting in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as prolonged counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East and Africa.
In conclusion, Minister Katz’s interview sheds light on Israel’s perspective of the conflict in Gaza and its perception of the global war against radical Islam. Katz’s statements reflect the Israeli government’s determination to protect its citizens from attacks, but they also raise concerns about the potential humanitarian consequences of the ongoing conflict.