Israeli minister Amichai Eliyahu says nuclear attack on Gaza is 'an option'

Israeli minister Amichai Eliyahu says nuclear attack on Gaza is 'an option'
While the Israeli military pounds Gaza without relent, Israel's far-right Minister for Heritage has said that a nuclear attack on Gaza is 'an option'.
2 min read
05 November, 2023
Gaza has already been unprecedentedly devasted by Israel's 'conventional' weaponry [Getty]

An Israeli minister said on Sunday that using a nuclear weapon on Gaza is "an option" in Tel Aviv’s ongoing war on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Amichai Eliyahu belongs to the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, led by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and has been the Minister for Heritage in the Israeli government since 2022. 

'There are no non-combatants in Gaza," Eliyahu told Radio Kol Berama as the death toll from Israel's bombardment of Gaza nears 10,000 – including 3,900 children.

Asked if it was therefore permissible to launch a nuclear attack on Gaza, he replied: "that’s one way … that’s an option."

Eliyahu also likened Palestinians to Nazis and openly endorsed collective punishment, telling the radio station "we would not have provided humanitarian aid to the Nazis… there is no such thing as uninvolved people in Gaza."

The far-right politician further claimed that Gaza had no right to exist, and said that anyone waving a Palestinian or Hamas flag "shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth."

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He said the rest of the population in Gaza "can go to Ireland or deserts," in what appears to be a jab at the steadfast support that much of the Irish public and government have lent Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has rejected calls for Israel to stop bombing Gaza, dismissed his minister’s nuclear strike comments as "divorced from reality" and has suspended him from cabinet meetings.

Israel has dropped thousands of bombs on the Gaza Strip, killing almost 10,000 people in less than a month and flattening much of the enclave, which is home to more than two million people.

Even Israel’s unshakeable ally, the US, has allegedly been pushing Tel Aviv to use smaller bombs to lessen the number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

While Israel using nuclear weapons in Gaza is hugely unlikely, a senior US official told The New York Times that since the bombardment began on 7 October, nearly 90 percent of Israeli bombs dropped on the enclave have been satellite-guided bombs weighing between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, which the US claims are not suitable for attacks in densely populated urban areas such as Gaza. 

This accounts for the horrific scale of Israel’s attacks and the unprecedented number of Palestinian civilian deaths.