Israel minister suspended from all govt meetings over nuclear ‘option’ remark
The Israel government on Sunday took strict action against its heritage minister Amichay Eliyahu by suspending him from all government meetings “until further notice” after he suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the minister's statement saying it is “not based in reality”.
“Minister Amihai Eliyahu's statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory,” the Prime Minister of Israel's official handle wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Eliyahu of Itamar Ben Gvir's far-right party - who is reportedly not a part of the security cabinet which is involved in wartime decision-making - during an interview with ‘Radio Kol Berama' said that dropping an atomic bomb on Gaza may be “one of the possibilities”.
In a follow-up question about the estimated 240 hostages held in Gaza, the minister said that “in war, we pay a price…Why are the lives of the hostages... more important than the lives of the soldiers?”
Following a massive backlash, Eliyahu said that his statement about the atomic bomb was “metaphorical”. “But we definitely need a powerful and disproportionate response to terrorism, which will make it clear to the Nazis and their supporters that terrorism is not worthwhile. This is the only formula that democratic countries can use to deal with terrorism. At the same time, it is clear that the State of Israel is committed to doing everything to return the abductees safe and sound,” he wrote on X.
Israel has been launching massive retaliatory assaults against Gaza's Hamas rulers after its fighters carried out an attack on October 7 in which at least 1,400 people were killed. According to the latest update by the Hamas-run health ministry, at least 9,488 people have been killed in Gaza so far.
(With inputs from agencies)