Israeli Finance Minister: Israel will govern Gaza militarily and civilly after the defeat of Hamas

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Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, said that after defeating Hamas, Israel must control Gaza militarily and civilly.

He added in an interview with Channel 12, Saturday, that he doesn’t understand why the public in Israel has believed for two and a half months that we haven’t succeeded in the war.

According to him, Israel is succeeding, crushing Hamas and destroying Gaza, and we will continue to win.

Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionism Party, a partner in the government coalition, continued, “I was one of the first to write in 2017 with an analysis of the Gaza problem and an understanding that it was a time bomb and that we would have to return to Gaza… I really hoped that we wouldn’t have to pay high prices”.

In response to a question why he thwarts the transfer of money to the Palestinians, thus putting Israel in conflict with the United States, Smotrich replied, “I have respect and appreciation for the Americans, but you have to know how to manage disputes with them… Not a single shekel will go to Gaza”.

Israel refuses to transfer the clearance funds, which are the tax funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the Palestinians’ imports of imported goods.

The funds are transferred to it monthly, at an average of 750-800 million shekels (about $190 million), of which 270 million shekels are transferred to the Gaza Strip under normal circumstances (About $75 million).

He considered that the people of Gaza aren’t innocent citizens.

“I opposed the introduction of fuel and I still oppose it… The fuel is electricity for terrorism and tunnels, and this happens and it’s a bad thing – but I don’t run the government alone,” he said.

Regarding the future of the Gaza Strip, Smotrich said, “The Americans must understand that the next day we won’t return to Qatar and Egypt, nor to the Palestinian Authority, nor to any other regime… Gaza won’t be a breeding ground for two million people who want to destroy the State of Israel… We want to encourage voluntary migration, and we must find countries that are willing to receive them… It should be an effort on the part of the state”.

Smotrich went on to say, “I support a complete change in the reality in Gaza, by holding a discussion about settlements in the Gaza Strip… We’ll have to rule there for a long time”.

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