Israel suspends minister who called for nuking Gaza

November 6, 2023

An Israeli minister who suggested dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza has been suspended.

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu appeared to say that all Palestinians are legitimate military targets during a radio interview.

“We wouldn’t have given the Nazis humanitarian aid,” he said. “There’s no such thing as innocents in Gaza.”

Israel minister suspended

He later said he wasn't being literal, but "a strong and disproportionate response to terrorism is definitely required, which will clarify to the Nazis and their supporters that terrorism is not worthwhile."

Still, the rash comments were roundly condemned by Israel's government, which is waging two wars - one against Hamas, and another for public opinion.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the comments were "not based in reality" and that Israel would abide by "international law" in its hostilities with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

"Minister Amihai Eliyahu's statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory."

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said the "shocking and crazy" comments hurt Israel's global standing.

"The presence of the extremists in the government endangers us and the success of the war goals — defeating Hamas and the return of the kidnapped. Netanyahu must fire him this morning,” he added.

Israel losing favor?

After Hamas terrorists slaughtered 1,400 Israelis on October 7 and kidnapped many others, Israel initially received an outpouring of sympathy.

But increasingly the Jewish state has faced censure and criticism from abroad as the death toll rises in Gaza.

Thousands of Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military response, leading President Biden, who initially backed Israel without qualification, to urge Netanyahu to pull back.

Opponents of Israel have accused Netanyahu and his right-wing government of perpetrating ethnic cleansing or "genocide" in Gaza - an accusation that some on the left have levied at Biden as well.

Biden has pushed Netanyahu for a "pause" - which Biden says is different from a cease-fire - to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, but Netanyahu has said Hamas must release its hostages first.

“I made clear that we are continuing full force and that Israel refuses a temporary cease-fire, which does not include the release of our hostages,” he said.

Israel is believed to possess nuclear weapons although it has never confirmed this.

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