Israeli Ministers Attend ‘Resettle Gaza’ Conference

Smotrich, Ben-Gvir, and members of Netanyahu's Likud party spoke in favor of establishing Jewish settlements in Gaza and expelling Palestinians

A conference in Jerusalem on Sunday that called for the re-establishment of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip was attended by thousands of Israelis, including members of the Knesset and ministers within the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the Jewish Power party, and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionism party, both spoke at the conference, which was titled the “Conference for the Victory of Israel – Settlement Brings Security: Returning to the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria.”

“We are rising, we have a nation of lions [and many children] are returning there as combat fighters. We must make sure they return there as settlers to protect the people of Israel,” Smotrich said, according to Haaretz.

Ben-Gvir said Israel must find a way to expel Palestinians from Gaza. “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,” he said. “I turn to you, PM Netanyahu: this is time for brave decisions.”

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, also spoke at the conference. Discussing the idea of “voluntary” emigration, he said, “‘Voluntary’ is at times a state you impose [on someone] until they give their consent.'”

Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yitzchak Goldknopf and Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz also attended the conference.

Netanyahu has previously said he’s looking for other countries that are willing to “absorb” Palestinians, and Israeli media reported that the idea of ethnically cleansing the Gaza Strip was becoming official government policy. But Netanyahu has since claimed he is not seeking the expulsion of Palestinians, comments he made the day before the International Court of Justice held its first hearing on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

According to Haaretz, the conference was opened with a speech from Rabbi Uzi Sharbag, a former leader of the Jewish Underground, a terrorist group that was active in the 1980s. Sharbag recently called for the “liberation” of Egypt’s Sinai region up to the Nile River, calling the area “integral parts of the land of Israel.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

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