Israel’s Smotrich Calls for ‘Total Annihilation’ of Rafah, Other Cities in Gaza

The Israeli finance minister wants Netanyahu to end negotiations with Hamas

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Monday called for the “total annihilation” of Rafah and other cities in the Gaza Strip.

“There are no half measures. Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat – total annihilation. ‘You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven’ – there’s no place under heaven,” Smotrich said.

Smotrich’s reference to “Amalek” was from a line in Deuteronomy, a book in the Hebrew Bible. Amalek is a nation the ancient Israelites were commanded to destroy, and in the book of Samuel, the Israelites were told to “slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously compared Gaza to Amalek, which has been cited as evidence of genocidal rhetoric in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

“You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember, and we are fighting,” Netanyahu said in October.

The “annihilation” of Rafah would mean the death of over 1 million civilians who are sheltering there. Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday that Israel will invade the city “with or without” a hostage deal with Hamas.

Smotrich said any hostage deal with Hamas would be a “humiliating defeat” for Israel. “Don’t wave a white flag. Don’t let Sinwar humiliate us again and win the war. A government that submits to international pressure and stops the war in the middle will, at that moment, lose its right to exist,” he said.

He also called for the destruction of Hezbollah in Lebanon, saying Israel must “clear out, with God’s help, with one blow, wicked Hezbollah in the north, and really send a message that what will happen to those who harm the Jewish people is the same as those who have tried to harm us in the past – they will be destroyed, destroyed, destroyed. And it will echo for decades to come.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

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