Israeli ministers fire back as Biden admin. slams calls for mass Gaza emigration

‘Israel is not another star on the US flag,’ says Itamar Ben-Gvir, blasting Biden administration criticism over calls for voluntary transfer of Gaza population.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Two senior Israeli ministers took aim at the Biden administration, after a top State Department official castigated their calls for voluntary mass emigration from the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller issued a statement slamming recent comments by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit), both of whom called for Israel to encourage and facilitate mass Arab emigration from the Gaza Strip.

“The United States rejects the inflammatory and irresponsible statements from Israeli Ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir. There should be no mass displacement of Palestinians from Gaza,” Miller said.

“We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the Government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government. They should stop immediately.”

“We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel. That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world.”

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Later on Tuesday, Ben-Gvir responded via Twitter/X, accusing the Biden administration of meddling in Israeli affairs.

“I have great respect for the United States of America, but with all due respect, we are not another star on the American flag.”

“The United States is our closest friend, but before everything we will do what is good for the State of Israel. The migration of hundreds of thousands from Gaza will allow the residents of the communities near the Gaza border to return home and live in security and will protect the soldiers of the IDF.”

On Wednesday, Smotrich doubled down on his comments, writing on Twitter/X that a wide majority of Israelis support large-scale voluntary emigration out of Gaza.

“More than 70% of the Israeli public today supports the humanitarian solution of encouraging voluntary Arab emigration from Gaza and their absorption in other states; they understand that a small country like ours cannot allow itself to live in a situation in which, just four minutes away from our towns, there flourishes a hotbed of terror with two million people who wake up every morning with the desire to annihilate the State of Israel and the desire to slaughter and rape and murder Jews for being Jews.”

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“Israeli society will not accept continuing with this reality in Gaza.”

On Sunday, Smotrich told Channel 12 that Israel should encourage the “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians from Gaza.

“If there were 100,000-200,000 Arabs in the Strip and not two million, the whole conversation about the day after [the war] would be completely different.”

He added, “They want to leave. They have been living in a ghetto for 75 years and are in need.”