Hinting at Knesset bid, Pollard says Israel must expel Gazans, annex Gaza

The former spy says he may run for Knesset with Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, says expulsion of Gazans is the only way to ensure security for Israel’s south.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is ready to go into politics on the ticket of the Israel’s most right-wing party, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, arguing that Israel must annex the Gaza Strip for the country’s security, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

“[Ben-Gvir] says some pretty wild things sometimes,” said the ex-spy who spent 30 years in American prison for passing information necessary to Israel’s security that Washington had withheld from its ally. “He’s a man of high emotion. But I trust him. I believe his heart is in the right place.”

“From the moment I got here, I never talked about judicial reform,” Pollard said, referring to the subject that roiled the nation for all of 2023 until the Hamas surprise invasion and massacre of October 7 that sparked the ongoing war.

“I talked about military reform because it was my impression – and unfortunately, it’s been borne out – that the military was incapable of thinking offensively. And we now know what the consequences are.”

The Israel Defense Forces should change its name to remove the word “defense,” and change its policies accordingly, to enable it to truly secure Israel’s future, he said.

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Last month, speaking in Haifa to students who combine Torah study with army service, he had said, “The army must undergo a reform and a fundamental change from within. The change must be carried out in two ways: from the top down, and from the bottom up…. replacing the Chief of Staff and changing the face of the entire General Staff so that the new spirit will change first at the top of the system and will trickle down to the last of the soldiers as well.”

“But even more important,” he continued, “is the change that needs to come from below, from the junior echelon that is gradually occupying the key positions in the system. This is the right thing to do in order to transform the IDF into an army that fights according to the tradition of Jewish values.”

Referring to the 134 Israeli hostages Hamas is still holding captive, Pollard said “Captivity is unbearable, but only a crushing victory over Hamas will bring the captives home to us. It is forbidden to agree to deals with Hamas under any circumstances,” because otherwise Israel will have “eight million ‘kidnapped.’”

Agreeing with Ben-Gvir’s oft-stated position, he added, “The main goal of the war is the complete victory over Hamas and its complete destruction.”

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In The Jerusalem Post interview, Pollard also said that annexing Gaza is the only way residents of the south can return, and that Gazan citizenry must be transferred out of the area.

“I say we move the resident Arab population out [of Gaza],” Pollard told his interviewers. “I don’t care where they go. My preference is for Ireland. I think the Irish deserve it.”

Hundreds of civilians followed the Hamas terrorists into border communities on October 7, murdering Israeli civilians and looting indiscriminately.

Soldiers returning from Gaza have spoken out about the culpability of ordinary Gazans in the war, describing how almost every house has hidden weaponry inside, tunnel shafts, or both. They have also shown the schoolbooks they found, which all contain incitement against Jews and Israel, suggesting that much of the population of Gaza has been inculcated with hatred of the Jewish state.

The Irish government is considered one of the two most anti-Israel countries in the EU.

Dublin has long supported the Palestinian cause, comparing Israel to the British colonizers of their own country, without recognizing the Jews’ 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel.

Pollard has always been a right-wing nationalist, refusing to countenance being given his freedom early if it meant releasing Palestinians prisoners or endangering Israel in any other way.

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When he was finally allowed to emigrate to Israel after completing a post-prison, five-year house arrest in 2020, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered him a place on his Likud list the very next year, and Ben-Gvir asked him to run with him in the last elections.

He refused them both, but at age 69 and settled with his new wife, Rivkah, he said, “Look, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. You cannot just sit on the sidelines and criticize. If you believe in what you are saying, you must participate.”