HomeForeignUS Kicks As Israeli Minister Speaks Of Resettling Palestinians Outside Gaza

US Kicks As Israeli Minister Speaks Of Resettling Palestinians Outside Gaza

The U.S. State Department has slammed recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir that advocated for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza, calling the rhetoric “inflammatory and irresponsible.”

The comments from the ministers appeared to underscore fears in much of the Arab world that Israel wants to drive Palestinians out of land where they want to build a future state, repeating the mass dispossession of Palestinians when Israel was created in 1948.

Finance Minister Smotrich, one of the senior figures in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, called on Sunday for Palestinian residents of Gaza to leave the besieged enclave. National Security Minister Ben-Gvir also said the war in Gaza presented an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza.”

“This rhetoric is inflammatory and irresponsible. We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government,” the State Department said in a statement, saying such statements should “stop immediately.”

“We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel.”

Smotrich’s hard-right Religious Zionism Party draws support from Israel’s settler community and helped Netanyahu secure the majority he needed to become prime minister for the sixth time a year ago.

Remarks previously from Ben-Gvir have also irked U.S. President Joe Biden, who said in December the Israeli minister and his allies want to have “retribution” against all Palestinians.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed 1,200, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s subsequent assault on Gaza has killed over 22,000 people, according to the local health ministry.

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