Israel’s war on Gaza: Ben Gvir urges ’emigration’ of Palestinians at Gaza settler rally

Israeli minister joins thousands of Israelis marching towards the Gaza Strip calling for settlements to be rebuilt in the war-torn enclave

MEE staff

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir greets supporters near the prime minister's office in Jerusalem on 5 May (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir greets supporters near the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem on 5 May 2024 (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has called to “encourage voluntary emigration” of Palestinians from Gaza at a rally in southern Israel advocating the re-settlement of the enclave.

The rally took place in the southern town of Sderot on Israel’s independence day and was attended by thousands of Israelis.

Speaking at the rally, Ben Gvir said that the reconstruction of settlements in Gaza was the only solution to the current conflict.

“What you are doing here is the real solution. We can sit in the cabinet and press for action in Rafah, not compromise on ending the war, demand that targeted countermeasures be taken, but in order to end the problem, so that the problem does not return, we need two things that must be done: one – return to Gaza now!” he told the crowd.

“Returning to our holy land. To encourage the residents to leave! This is the truth! This is the only way.”

After capturing Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war, Israel constructed 21 settlements in the enclave that were populated by Jewish settlers.

In 2005, however, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismantled and evacuated the settlements – a move that was staunchly opposed by many right-wing Israelis, including Ben Gvir.

As the rally was ongoing, three rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by Israeli air defences over Sderot, according to the city’s municipality.

More than 35,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them women and children, have been killed by Israel in its war on Gaza, and at least 10,000 others are missing under the rubble and presumed dead, according to the Palestinian civil defence.

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On 7 October, a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,171 people, most of them civilians. Around 250 others were captured by Hamas and other Palestinian groups and taken to Gaza.

At the rally on Tuesday, Ben Gvir said aid deliveries to Gaza should be blocked until the captives were returned. Around 130 people are believed to be held captive in Gaza, though at least 30 of them are believed to be dead.

“Do you want to deliver food to children in Gaza? Bring back Ariel and Kafir Bibas,” he said, referring to two of the captives.

Shlomo Karhi, the communications minister and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, also attended the rally.

“In order to preserve the security achievements that our soldiers lost their lives for, we must resettle Gaza with security forces and settlers that will embrace the land with love,” Haaretz reported him as saying.

“This is the only true way, to make the Hamas Nazis pay a price and to defend our nation and country.”

Ben Gvir urges ’emigration’ of Palestinians at Gaza settler rally

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