Israeli Finance Minister Calls for Expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza

Bezalel Smotrich also wants Israeli settlements in Gaza

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has again called for the expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and for the return of Israeli settlements to the enclave.

“What needs to be done in the Gaza Strip is to encourage emigration,” Smotrich, leader of the extremist Religious Zionism party, told Israel’s Army Radio.

“If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not 2 million Arabs, the entire discussion on the day after will be totally different. They want to leave. They have been living in a ghetto for 75 years and are in need,” he added.

Smotrich previously expressed support for the idea of “voluntary resettlement” of Palestinians from Gaza to other countries around the world. Other Israeli officials have made it no secret that they hope to ethnically cleanse Gaza, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said last week that he was looking for nations to “absorb” Palestinians.

Smotrich also holds a minister position in the Defense Ministry that gives him the power to expand settlements in the West Bank, and he is a settler himself. He told Army Radio that he doesn’t “think there’s anyone in Israel who doesn’t want to see Jewish settlements everywhere.”

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, Smotrich spoke more explicitly about his desire to see Israeli settlements in Gaza and envisioned an Israeli military occupation.

“We will be in security control, and we will need there to be civil [control],” Smotrich said. “I’m for completely changing the reality in Gaza, having a conversation about settlements in the Gaza Strip… We’ll need to rule there for a long time… If we want to be there militarily, we need to be there in a civilian fashion.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.