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Itamar Ben Gvir's grandiose dreams

1 min

Israel's hard-right Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir urged Jewish settlers to return to Gaza at a packed gathering on Sunday.

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Israel's hard-right Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir urged Jewish settlers to return to Gaza at a packed gathering on Sunday.

The statement from the firebrand Ben-Gvir clashed with the official government position iterated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel does not intend to return a permanent presence to Gaza once the war with Hamas is over.

Ben-Gvir, who leads one of the small nationalist parties in Netanyahu's right-wing coalition, told a conference that a return of Jewish settlers and the military was the only way to ensure there was no repeat of the devastating attack on Israel by Hamas fighters on Oct. 7.

"We yelled and we warned," Ben-Gvir told the event organised by settler groups that was attended by hundreds of people and as many as a dozen government ministers, according to Israel's Channel 12 television. "If we don't want another Oct. 7, we need to return home and control the land."

He said there was a need to "encourage emigration" by Gazans.

Israel, which withdrew its military and settlers from Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, has launched fierce air strikes and a land incursion into the enclave in retaliation after the attack by Hamas.

Itamar Ben-Gvir no longer holds any influence in the political life of his country.

The majority of the population despises him.

His statements regarding the return of settlers to Gaza are a fresh provocation and a last-ditch effort to rally the few thousand followers still behind him.

Reporting by Emily Rose and Mena Today 

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