Creating new perspectives since 2009

Arab states condemn Israel over minister’s ‘nuke Gaza’ remark

November 6, 2023 at 12:07 pm

Locals carry out search and rescue operations after an Israeli attack hits en-Neccar family apartment in Khan Yunis, Gaza on November 04, 2023 [Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency]

Several Arab states have condemned comments by Israeli Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu who said yesterday that the occupation state should consider the option of dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip, which is already facing a genocidal onslaught by the US-backed Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

Soon after his remarks were made in an interview with a radio station, the far-right minister was suspended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who distanced his cabinet from Eliyahu’s words, which he said were “detached from reality.”

“Israel and the IDF are acting in accordance with the highest standards of international law in order to prevent harm to uninvolved people, and we will continue to do that all the way to victory,” claimed Netanyahu.

However, foreign ministries in regional countries were quick to criticise the minister’s genocidal suggestion, including the UAE, one of four Arab states to normalise relations with Israel in 2020.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms the UAE’s categorical rejection of the threat of using nuclear weapons,” it said. “The UAE stresses that the immediate priority is to preserve the lives of civilians and provide them with necessary humanitarian assistance.”

The ministry called on the international community to intensify efforts to avoid further fuelling the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. “We also call to advance all efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace, while preventing the region from being drawn into new levels of violence, tension and instability.”

READ: Rights group: Israel dropped equivalent to 2 nuclear bombs on Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said that the Israeli minister’s comments showed the penetration of “extremism and brutality” among members of the Israeli government, emphasising that the suspension was not enough. “Moreover, not dismissing the minister and only freezing his membership constitutes the utmost disregard for all human standards and values,” it added.

The “racist, inflammatory, and provocative” statements were also condemned by Jordan. The Hashemite Kingdom described them as a “call for genocide and a hate crime that cannot be tolerated.” Qatar, meanwhile, said that the statements were “serious incitement to a war crime.”

The internationally-recognised Yemeni government also weighed in, branding the comments as representing “unprecedented levels of hatred and extremism.”

Israel has maintained a longstanding policy of neither confirming nor denying that it has nuclear weapons. It is, though, believed widely to have a nuclear arsenal, although the occupation state is one of the few countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has not permitted nuclear inspectors into the country.

READ: Malaysia PM: Gaza destruction exceeds damage to Hiroshima after nuclear bomb