In a startling and disturbing statement, Israeli Member of Parliament Galit Distel Atbaryan, from the ruling Likud party, recently called for the complete erasure of Gaza from the Earth. This extreme rhetoric, coming from a former public diplomacy minister, has reignited concerns about the escalating tensions in the region and the potential implications for human rights.
Distel Atbaryan’s comments on Facebook, urging Israelis to focus their energy on “erasing all of Gaza from the face of the Earth,” followed the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel, which resulted in significant casualties. She expressed a desire for the “Gazan monsters” to either flee to Egyptian territory or face death, indicating an apparent endorsement of a plan to expel surviving Palestinians to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, an act reminiscent of the “second Nakba.”
Such rhetoric is not isolated within Israeli political discourse. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant referred to Gaza residents as “human animals,” advocating for a “complete siege” on the enclave, including a total blockade of food, fuel, and electricity. Former military officer Eliyahu Yossian called for the IDF to enter Gaza with an agenda of “revenge, zero morality, maximum corpses,” while Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich denied the existence of Palestinians and advocated for the destruction of the West Bank town of Huwara.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a map at the United Nations General Assembly, outlining “The New Middle East” without the West Bank, Gaza, or East Jerusalem, weeks before the onslaught in Gaza began. Such statements and actions have led to heightened concerns about the Israeli government’s intentions.
A leaked document from Israel’s spy network revealed a plan to forcibly remove Palestinians to tent cities and then to permanent settlements in North Sinai, establishing a “sterile” buffer zone inside Egypt. Despite Egypt’s repeated refusals to allow such displacement, concerns persist that international pressure and economic incentives might alter this stance.
Craig Mokhiber, former New York Office director of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, resigned, citing Israel’s actions in Gaza as “textbook genocide.” He criticized the U.S., the U.K., and European governments for being complicit in the assault through their support and diplomatic cover for Israel’s actions. Mokhiber highlighted the explicit statements of intent by Israeli leaders as evidence of genocidal intent.
These developments and statements paint a concerning picture of the situation in Gaza and the broader Palestinian territories. The rhetoric and actions of Israeli officials, including MP Galit Distel Atbaryan, have raised alarm bells about the potential for further escalation and the dire need for international attention and intervention to prevent further humanitarian crises.