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Israel's Smotrich urges 'total annihilation' in Gaza's Rafah

Israel's Smotrich urges 'total annihilation' in Gaza's Rafah
2 min read
30 April, 2024
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has once again called for indiscriminate violence against Palestinians, urging 'total annihilation' in Rafah
Bezalel Smotrich has a history of violent incitement against Palestinians [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty-archive]

Extremist Israeli government minister Bezalel Smotrich has engaged in more violent incitement against Palestinians, calling for "total obliteration" in Rafah and other areas of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has long threatened a ground invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, where over half of the enclave's 2.3 population is sheltering.

"There are no half measures," Finance Minister Smotrich said on Monday, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"Rafah, Deir Al-Balah, Nuseirat – total annihilation. 'You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven' – there's no place under heaven."

Deir Al-Balah and the Nuseirat refugee camp are areas in the centre of the Gaza Strip.

Smotrich appears to have been quoting from Deuteronomy, a book in the Jewish Torah, when he spoke of "blotting out the remembrance of Amalek".

The Amalekites were a people the ancient Israelites were commanded to destroy.

Netanyahu previously compared the population of Gaza to Amalek, which South Africa brought up in its case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of "genocidal acts".

Smotrich's comments came at an event for Mimouna, an observance marked by North African Jews when the Passover holiday finishes. The extremist minister, who has a long history of incitement, has previously called for the town of Huwara in the West Bank to be "erased".

The Israeli minister also addressed talks taking place with Palestinian group Hamas, saying his country was "negotiating with someone who long ago should have ceased to exist at all", Haaretz reported.

For months, mediators Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have been trying to broker a deal between Hamas and Israel. They are currently waiting for a Hamas response to a proposal for a truce and hostage exchange.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the military will launch a ground offensive in Rafah "with or without" a truce with Hamas in Gaza.

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Israel's war on Gaza, which began nearly seven months ago, has killed at least 34,535 people, according to the Palestinian enclave's health ministry.

Agencies contributed to this report.