Israel's Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu. (Image: Twitter)
Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu has faced suspension from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his controversial remarks suggesting the use of a nuclear weapon over the Gaza Strip, which is already dealing with severe conflict.
In a recent interview with Radio Kol Berama, the far-right minister, a member of the extremist Otzma Yehudit party, discussed the possibility of using a nuclear weapon in reference to the ongoing situation in Gaza.
Eliyahu also expressed support for the complete reoccupation of the Gaza Strip by the Zionist state, suggesting that the enclave’s Palestinian population, numbering over 2 million, should consider relocating to Ireland or desert regions, emphasizing that the situation in Gaza should be resolved independently.
It is important to note that Eliyahu is not part of the security cabinet responsible for wartime decision-making, and he lacks influence over the war cabinet directing military operations.
Following the controversial interview, Eliyahu has been indefinitely barred from attending Cabinet meetings. Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to the situation, stating, "Amichai Eliyahu’s words are detached from reality. Israel and the IDF are acting in accordance with the highest standards of international law to prevent harm to uninvolved people, and we will continue to do so until we achieve victory."
The Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, also weighed in, stating, "It’s a relief that individuals with such views are not responsible for Israel's security."
Opposition leader Yair Lapid distanced himself from Eliyahu's remarks, describing them as "horrifying and irresponsible." Lapid asserted that Eliyahu's comments had offended the families of the Gaza captives, harmed Israeli society, and tarnished the country's international reputation, adding that Netanyahu should dismiss Eliyahu without delay.
Subsequently, Eliyahu attempted to clarify his remarks, stating that his reference to an "atom bomb" was metaphorical. He emphasized the need for a strong and proportionate response to terrorism to deter its supporters and underlined Israel's commitment to ensuring the safe return of hostages.