Hadash MKs reacted angrily to remarks by racist Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu indicating that one of Israel’s options for tackling Hamas in Gaza might be dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, condemning the far-right government for not immediately firing him.
Eliyahu, a member of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s racist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, was speaking in an answer to a question in a radio interview. “Your expectation is that tomorrow morning we’d drop what amounts to some kind a nuclear bomb on all of Gaza, flattening them, eliminating everybody there…,” the Radio Kol Barama interviewer said.
Racist minister Amichai Eliahu – second from left (Photo: Eliahu’s Facebook page)
“That’s one way,” Eliyahu responded. “The second way is to work out what’s important to them, what scares them, what deters them… They’re not scared of death.” When it was pointed out to the minister that there are some 240 Israeli hostages currently held in the Gaza Strip, Eliyahu doubled down. “Why are the lives of the abductees, whose release I really want, more important than the lives of the soldiers?” He also backed occupation of the Strip and rebuilding the Israeli settlements that existed there before Israel withdrew from the area unilaterally in 2005, and when asked about the fate of the Palestinian population, he said: “They can go to Ireland or deserts; the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.”
Amid the growing outrage in Israel and abroad, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Eliyahu was suspended from cabinet meetings indefinitely. Despite his supposed suspension, on Sunday evening Eliyahu was still able to take part in a vote put out to the ministers by phone as the meeting was cancelled.
Far-right government ministers told the Ynet news site that the suspension was meaningless. “This is a joke, there barely are any cabinet meetings anyway, and most of the work is being done in rounds of votes by phone,” an unnamed minister was quoted as saying. PM Netanyahu initially sought to fire Eliyahu, but backpedaled after Ben Gvir said he would not go along with the move, Channel 12 news reported.
In addition, Rabbi Amichai Friedman, the rabbi at the Nahal Brigade’s training base, addresses a group of young soldiers Saturday night and tells them that when he daydreams and imagines that “there are no murdered, no hostages, no injured people,” he’s left with “maybe the happiest month” of his life, and vowed Israel would conquer the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
In a video posted on social media, Friedman was seen addressing soldiers from a stage, telling them “Because we reached a point where the people of Israel leveled up. We are finally understanding who we are,” he said. “Another thing we are making clear these days, something more important than anything else: this land is ours. All of it. Including Gaza. Including Lebanon. The entire Promised Land. We’re going to come back big time,” Friedman declared. “Gush Katif is tiny compared to what we will reach,” Friedman added, referring to the bloc of Israeli settlements evacuated during the 2005 disengagement from Gaza.
In Gaza, as hostilities entered the thirtieth day, ongoing armed clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups were reported in northwest and south Gaza City. Intense bombardments took place across the Gaza Strip, including in Deir Al Balah and the southern areas.
Between 4 November (noon) and 5 November (14:00), 243 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. At least 65 of these reported fatalities were recorded during airstrikes targeting residential buildings in three refugee camps: Al Bureij and Al Maghazi, both in Deir Al Balah (at least 51 reported fatalities) and Jabaliya in North Gaza governorate (14 reported fatalities). Most of the fatalities are women and children.
This brings the reported fatality toll since the start of the hostilities to 9,770 including 4,008 children and 2,550 women. About 2,260 others are reported missing in Gaza, including 1,270 children. Most are presumed to be trapped under rubble. On average, 134 children have been killed in Gaza every day since the start of the hostilities.