Smotrich: Gov’t has ‘no right to exist’ if Rafah op canceled

Jerusalem has emphasized that telling Israel to refrain from operating in Rafah is equivalent to demanding that it lose the war.


The government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lose its legitimacy if it accepts the “humiliating surrender” proposed to Hamas during ongoing hostages-for-ceasefire negotiations, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Sunday.

Axios reported on Saturday that the deal being discussed includes significant compromises by Israel and that, for the first time, Jerusalem is considering ending the war in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu previously dismissed the terror group’s demand to end the war before it is totally defeated as “delusional.”

In a video message, Smotrich urged the premier to order the Israel Defense Forces to immediately enter the last Hamas stronghold of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip “with all their might.”

Agreeing to the terms currently on the table would be tantamount to “a victory for the Nazis at the expense of hundreds of brave IDF soldiers who fell in battle. It would impose a death sentence on the [133 remaining] hostages and, above all, constitute an immediate existential danger to the State of Israel,” said Smotrich.

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“Egyptian-brokered deals that finished previous ’rounds’ [of fighting] and left Hamas alive and kicking, and allowed it to strengthen time and time again and slaughter Israeli citizens in a way that hasn’t happened since the Holocaust, is exactly how you’ve led [Israel] for the past two decades. It’s exactly what we all promised would not be repeated this time,” added the minister.

“If, God forbid, you decide to wave a white flag by canceling the order to immediately occupy Rafah and complete the mission of destroying Hamas, restoring security to the residents of the south and to the citizens of Israel and returning all our hostages—our brothers and sisters—to their homes, your government will have no right to exist,” stated Smotrich.

Jerusalem has repeatedly emphasized that telling Israel to refrain from operating in Rafah is equivalent to demanding that it lose the war.

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Many of the 133 hostages still in the hands of Hamas more than 200 days after the Oct. 7 massacre are believed to be held in Rafah. IDF special forces rescued two captives from the city in February.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Saturday that the offensive in Rafah would be suspended if a deal to free some of the abductees held in the coastal enclave is secured.