Middle East

Saudi, EU countries denounce comments by far-right Israeli officials on resettlement of Gazans

From CNN’s Irene Nasser, Alireza Hajihosseini and Manveena Suri

Saudi Arabia and a number of European nations on Thursday joined the United States in condemning comments by far-right Israeli officials calling for the resettlement of Gazans outside of Gaza.

In recent days, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have reiterated remarks that Israel’s war with Hamas presents an opportunity to encourage Palestinian migration from the enclave.

In a statement Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “condemnation and categorial rejection of the extremist statements of two ministers in the Israeli occupation government.”

Meanwhile, European Union members including Netherlands and Slovenia echoed earlier condemnation of the Israeli officials’ comments by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“This does not fit a future two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel,” the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Tuesday the US had been “told repeatedly and consistently” by Israel “that such statements [made by the far-right officials] do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government.”

Israeli officials double down: Responding to the US rebuke, Ben Gvir on Tuesday called the United States a “good friend” of Israel but said the “emigration of hundreds of thousands from Gaza” will allow Israeli settlers to return and “live in security.”

Smotrich also responded to the State Department’s rebuke, saying Israel could not afford to live in close proximity to “a hotbed of hatred and terrorism where 2 million people wake up every morning with a desire to destroy of the State of Israel.”

Post-war Gaza: Last month, US officials discussed post-war Gaza governance plans with the Palestinian Authority along with regional US allies — making it a key focus as they try to look beyond the immediate conflict.

On Tuesday, Miller said the State Department had been “clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel.”

“That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world,” he said.

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