update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Ben-Gvir visits Temple Mount, pledges Hamas destruction

We will not allow even a declaration of a Palestinian state, Israel's national security minister said.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (left) during a previous visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Source: Itamar Ben-Gvir/X.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (left) during a previous visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Source: Itamar Ben-Gvir/X.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ascended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Wednesday, his first trip in nearly a month to the site.

“From the holiest place for the people of Israel and which belongs only to the State of Israel, I say: Tonight we will receive another testimony as to why Hamas must be totally destroyed. The countries that recognized a Palestinian state today are giving a reward to the terrorists,” he said in a video from atop the mount.

“And I say, we will not allow even a declaration of a Palestinian state. And I say one more thing: To destroy Hamas, we have to go into Rafah to the end, do a root canal. To return our hostages, we need to stop the [supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip] fuel, establish that humanitarianism is only for humanitarianism. And control this place, the most important place.”

Ben-Gvir has made it a point throughout his tenure as national security minister to visit the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples before they were destroyed by the the Neo-Babylonian and Roman empires, respectively.

Israel liberated the Mount during the 1967 Six-Day War. It then handed its administration back to the Waqf Islamic trust under Jordanian Hashemite custodianship, while maintaining Israeli security control.

Ben-Gvir has been pushing for the voluntary emigration of Gazans and the resettlement of the part of the Strip by Israel. He mentioned this in his video message on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, he told the Kikar HaShabbat website, “Complete occupation of Gaza, everything is ours. Full Israeli control including Jewish settlement and voluntary encouragement of immigration. Not only in settlements that have been evacuated.” Ben-Gvir said he would be willing to live in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on this later in the night, saying in a CNN interview, “If you mean resettling Gaza …, it was never in the cards, and I said so openly. And some of my constituents are not happy about it, but that’s my position.”

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