Israel's Ben-Gvir reiterates call for Palestinian exodus from Gaza, settlement expansion
Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has reiterated his calls for a mass exodus of Palestinians from Gaza, saying that the expansion of Israeli settlements is "the order of the hour".
Ben-Gvir made the comments during an interview on the Israeli radio channel Kan Bet, in response to a question about the US State Department's criticism of his and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s comments on the expulsion of Palestinians.
Last week, the State Department issued a rare statement rejecting recent statements by Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, which called for the "evacuation" of Gazans.
In response, Ben-Gvir said on X: "We highly value America's friendship, but respectfully, we aren't another star on the American flag."
When asked about US rejection of the plan on Kan Bet, Ben-Gvir said, "I think it's the right solution."
"Nikki Haley supports it; it is voluntary," he added, likely referring to the former UN ambassador and current runner for the Republican presidential candidacy's remarks that Gazans "should go to Hamas-loving countries: Iraq, Qatar, Turkey".
Ben-Gvir added that he would try to convince Israel's government to adopt the policy, claiming that "hundreds of thousands will leave now" if given the option.
The minister's comments come as Israel faces a petition from South Africa in the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of forcibly displacing Gazans and committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.
Israel - while saying its goal was to destroy Hamas - has killed at least 22,835 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, including thousands of children. Its unprecedented air and ground assault has devastated the tiny Gaza enclave.
The bombardment has displaced most of Gaza's 2.3 million population, with many homes and civilian infrastructure left in ruins amid acute shortages of food, water and medicine.