Ben-Gvir calls for ‘Jewish resettlement’ of Gaza at rally

The extremists minister also said that Gazans shouldn’t receive any humanitarian aid despite the war and siege plaguing the territory [Getty/file photo]

Israel’s far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has once again called for the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and an expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territory, at an ultra-nationalist rally on Tuesday.

The minister said the settlements called for by far-right attendees were the “true solution”, and that the “voluntarily emigration of Palestinians” should be “promoted”.

Thousands attended the rally in Naqab (Negev) Desert city of Sderot, which lies less than a kilometre away from the war-hit Gaza Strip, where other extremist politicians advocated for the resettlements of Jews in the enclave.

“We must return to Gaza now! We are coming home to the Holy Land!” Ben-Gvir said, as quoted by Haaretz.

“We must encourage emigration. Encourage the voluntary emigration of the residents of Gaza. It is moral!” he added from the stage of the rally set up at the end of the march.

At the rally, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said that the “resettlement of Jewish people in Gaza” was the only way to “guarantee their security”.

Zvi Sukkot, a far-right MK with a track record of violence against Palestinians and settler activism, said Israel should “tell the countries of the world who with hypocritical morality care for the Gazans that they will be much safer with them in other countries. If they love them so much, South Africa should take the residents of Jabaliya”.

Promoted under the banner of building Jewish settlements in Gaza, the rally was attended by at least 50,000 people, The Times of Israel reported, citing the extremist settler group Nachala.

The Nachala Settler Movement, an organisation with a radical history of illegal settlement activity, planned the rally along other hardline groups, such as Hotam, Sovereignty and The Jewish Truth.

Ben-Gvir, the leader of the anti-Arab Otzma Yehudit party, also said that he “opposes transferring humanitarian aid” to the Gaza Strip, where basic necessities are scarce and a famine is looming, as a result of Israel’s siege on the enclave.

This is the second time that Ben-Gvir has called for the mass expulsion of Gazans and Jewish settlers to move into the enclave since the war started in October. In January, the extremist minister made similar far-right calls at a  conference in occupied East Jerusalem.

Throughout the war in Gaza, Ben-Gvir called on Palestinian women and children in Gaza to be shot if they approach the Israeli border, the execution of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails “to free prison space”, and has threatened to quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet if the war ends.

The rally, called for by the Israeli right, coincided with Israel’s 76th “Independence Day”. On the same day, extremist settler groups stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem, where they raised Israeli flags and carried out other provocative acts.

Haaretz reported that many far-right activists made their way to Sderot, waving Israeli flags, dancing, and singing songs in Hebrew as Israel bombed Gaza.

The establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 was marked by the traumatic events of the Nakba, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes.

As of Tuesday, Israel has killed at least 35,173 Palestinians in Gaza since October, mostly women and children.

A ground offensive on the southern city of Rafah, home to at least 1.4 million displaced Palestinians, remains imminent.

Israel’s atrocities have been decried as a “genocide” by South Africa, and other world leaders and experts.

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