Far-right Israeli minister threatens to reoccupy and recolonise Gaza
A far-right Israeli minister threatened on Wednesday to re-occupy the besieged coastal enclave and re-colonise settlements that were evacuated in the territory before 2005.
Speaking to the Israeli Channel 7, Israeli Minister of National Missions Orit Strock said, "We have to return our settlements once again. I believe that we have provided many sacrifices to restore Gaza."
"Unfortunately, we cannot return Gaza without involving many casualties, as well as the departure from it came with many casualties," the minister added.
In 2005, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated several Israeli settlements in Gaza along with four settlements in the northern occupied West Bank as part of his "unilateral" plan for disengagement from the territory.
Recently, the Israeli Knesset on Tuesday passed a bill to allow Israeli settlers to return to four evacuated settlements in the northern occupied West Bank, signalling a shift in the government's policy.
The Israeli minister's remarks received negatively among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who cynically responded that "Israel is too weak to occupy the area once again."
Head of Al-Qassam Bridges in Gaza warns of 'regional earthquake' if Israel continues violationshttps://t.co/3L6dj7KjhM— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) March 16, 2023
"Israel knows very well that Gaza is capable of defending itself and that the resistance has advanced weapons and will not allow it to occupy it again," Muhammad al-Rayyes, from Gaza City, told The New Arab.
"We may disagree with Hamas on many societal issues and its way of ruling, but we will all support it if Israel commits any foolishness to occupy our land again," he added.
The same opinion was shared by Ibrahim Al-Asali from Gaza City. "It seems that the Israeli extremists will be the main reason for accelerating the end of its existence before they can occupy our land again," he said.
"Unfortunately, the Palestinians are divided, and this is what greatly contributed to strengthening Israel's presence in our land (...) Gaza possesses powerful weapons, and if we unite with our brothers in the West Bank, we will certainly be able to wage the battle of liberation and expel all Israelis from our land," he added.
Israel occupied Palestine in 1948, and the rest of the territories in the 1967 war. Since then, Israel built at least 164 settlements in the occupied area, with about 650,000 settlers. Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.