Israel’s far right calls for building settlements in Gaza

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TEL AVIV — The religious Zionist movement inthe Far-Right coalition government in Israel is adopting a plan that seeks to reoccupy the Gaza Strip and resettle approximately 300,000 Jewish settlers in three new illegal settlements.اضافة اعلان

The plan includes three cities to be built in Gaza, similar to the settlements of Ashkelon and Ashdod, each inhabited by approximately 100,000 settlers, according to veteran Israeli writer and analyst Shalom Yerushalmi.

In a piece published Monday in Zaman Yisrael newspaper, Yerushalmi focused on what is going on behind the scenes in the religious Zionist movement and its attempt to exploit the weakness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to impose a vision for post-war Gaza that is built on a religious basis.

The writer stated that the current controversy in Israel regarding the future of the Gaza Strip “cannot be resolved, as long as one of the parties is promoting a fanatical religious doctrine, without taking into account any political or security considerations.”

Yerushalmi gave the example of Knesset member Amichai Halevy (Likud), who, driven by religion, has stated that three major Israeli cities should be established in Gaza.

Another example that the writer found concerns activist Ira Rappaport, a resident of the Shilo settlement and a member of the Likud party. He believes that the “flood of Al-Aqsa” on October 7 “is divine punishment for the sin of withdrawal from Gaza.” He also believes that  “every withdrawal from Sinai, southern Lebanon, or the West Bank will be followed by a severe blow (punishment from heaven).

Regarding the fate of two million Palestinians in Gaza, the extremist Rappaport believes that the model of Pakistan must be applied, which, according to him, is currently expelling 1.7 million Afghans residing in the country illegally, and hundreds of thousands of them are already fleeing towards the border with Afghanistan.

Rappaport, a former member of a secret Jewish organization, said that Communications Minister Shlomo Karei has joined the chorus, adding that the matter is no longer limited to the Religious Zionism Party or Otzma Yehudit (also religious Zionism), but rather to ministers from Likud.

Karei said in a radio interview that “the return of settlements in the Gaza Strip is the dream of all of us, but now we are focusing on eradicating terrorism and comprehensively cleansing Gaza.”

The writer said that the prevailing thought among the religious Zionism movement is that “reoccupying Gaza and repopulating it with Jews is a divine command, and if it is not implemented, other tragedies will befall Israel,” adding: “This is what they fundamentally believe in, and many members of religious Zionism follow it.” 

Netanyahu is facing a major dilemma, according to the writer, as the religious belief of those calling for the reoccupation is based on the feeling of historical injustice as a result of the disengagement from the Gush Katif settlement in 2005.

Netanyahu stated on Saturday, that he opposes the establishment of Israeli settlements in Gaza after the war, but he uses religion when he says that "we will not win except by the support of God."

But the writer wondered, “whether Netanyahu has the political strength to stand up to those calling for resettling in Gaza.”

Yerushalmi added that the right succeeded in bringing about a coup regarding the future of the West Bank when Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich assumed the position of minister in the Defense Ministry who is responsible for West Bank affairs.

He said that many of the budgets and steps that took place there are all evidence of the strength of the religious-nationalist right in the government, which imposed more than a few decisions on Netanyahu and Army Minister Yoav Gallant.

He pointed out that what is happening in the West Bank today is the fulfillment of the settlers' dream, as tens of thousands of soldiers there are combating and brutalizing Palestinians, especially those who throw stones and Molotov cocktails.

He explained, "In the wake of the national tragedy in the south (the Al-Aqsa flood) and the Israelis' tendency to the right, then what is happening in the West Bank can be applied to Gaza as well, in light of the presence of a very weak prime minister."

The writer added, "Threats such as - if we do not settle in Gaza, we will topple the government - would force Netanyahu to submit, which is something that should not be underestimated."

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