Senior Israeli Officials Speak At Conference On Resettling Gaza Strip

Senior Israeli government officials joined a conference on re-settling the Gaza Strip on Sunday, calling for Israelis to “control the land” despite the United States’ condemnations of similar proposals.

In 2005, Israel withdrew settlements and military forces from Gaza, and since then, some in Israel have advocated for re-settling the Strip. Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombing and invasion of Gaza have heightened those calls.

Senior U.S. officials have condemned Israeli talk of “mass displacement” of Gazans and the “resettlement” of Gaza, but Vice President Kamala Harris, pressed by Katie Couric recently, refused to say that the United States would withhold aid to Israel if such policies were pursued.

“We knew what that would bring, and we tried to prevent it,” Israel’s far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said at Sunday’s conference, referring to the 2005 withdrawal, Reuters reported. “Without settlements, there is no security.”

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Itamar Ben Gvir, the country’s national security minister, also a featured speaker, added separately: “If we don’t want another October 7, we need to go back home and control [Gaza]. We need to find a legal way to voluntarily ✱emigrate [Palestinians] and impose death sentences on terrorists.”

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The Times of Israel reported that in all, 12 Israeli Cabinet ministers and 15 additional members of the Israeli Knesset who are part of Israel’s governing coalition attended the conference. (Axios reported 18 coalition lawmakers attended.) The event was entitled “Conference for the Victory of Israel – Settlement Brings Security: Returning to the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria.” Samaria, in this context, is a reference to the northern West Bank, where some Israeli settlements were also evacuated in 2005. Thousands of people reportedly attended Sunday’s conference.

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

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