Israel will have military rule in Gaza after war, finance minister Smotrich says
Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Saturday night that there will be Israeli military rule in Gaza after Tel Aviv has concluded its war on the Palestinian enclave.
“There will be a military administration in Gaza the day after the war … We [the Israeli cabinet] all agree we must stay in Gaza," Smotrich told Channel 12 News.
“I have told everyone in the Ministerial Cabinet for Political and Security Affairs that I am not against bringing in a moderate party [to govern Gaza], but there is no such party,” he continued.
“It’s either us or Hamas and we committed to destroying Hamas and the military and civilian capabilities of Hamas.”
Smotrich further said that he and the Israeli cabinet oppose the delivery of aid to Palestinians in Gaza into the hands of UNRWA, saying that it should be Israel that controls the distribution of all aid into and among the Palestinian territory.
“I support managing the humanitarian effort differently, in a way that does not reach Hamas and does not help it keep civilians dependent on it. The only way to do that is for the Israeli army to control what happens in the Gaza Strip,” the far-right firebrand said.
The minister refused to answer the question of whether or not he considers returning the hostages to be more important than eliminating Hamas, saying: “We have an obligation to destroy Hamas and make sure they don’t return”.
However, the leader of the fascistic Religious Zionist Party once again expressed opposition to a peace deal with Hamas that would secure the release of Israeli hostages, intimating that he prioritises war over their safe return.
“Whoever looks you in the eye and says we’ll bring back all of the hostages alive is lying to you,” Smotrich claimed.
Earlier this month and last year, Smotrich drew worldwide condemnation after he repeatedly proposed the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population of Gaza.
In his capacity as finance minister, Smotrich has also blocked vital tax funds from reaching Gaza, adding to the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel's relentless war on the strip.