(MENAFN) Nissim Vaturi, the deputy speaker of the Knesset and a senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, has ignited controversy with inflammatory remarks, urging the Israeli military to "burn" Gaza and impose a blockade on fuel and water until all hostages held by Hamas are released. The comments, made on Friday, mark the latest in a series of provocative statements by Israeli politicians amid the ongoing deadly conflict with Hamas.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Vaturi dismissed concerns about the availability of internet in Gaza, stating, "All of this preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing. We are too humane. Burn Gaza now, nothing less! Don't allow fuel in, don't allow water in until the hostages are returned!"
This comes on the heels of Prime Minister Netanyahu's suspension of Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu earlier this month for suggesting the use of nuclear weapons against the Palestinian enclave. The tensions between Israel and Hamas escalated when Hamas allegedly took over 200 hostages during an attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths, predominantly civilians. In response, Israel launched a bombing campaign and a ground invasion of Gaza.
The Israeli government has also imposed a near-total blockade on Gaza, intensifying the already dire humanitarian situation in the region, according to the United Nations and human rights groups. Gazan Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra reported that 24 patients at Al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, died during an Israeli raid on the compound. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) accused Hamas of utilizing hospitals, including Al-Shifa, for military purposes.
The toll of the conflict is staggering, with more than 11,000 people reported dead in Gaza since October 7, according to local officials. In response to the ongoing crisis, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Wednesday, calling for humanitarian pauses in the fighting and the "immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas." The controversial statements from Israeli officials continue to draw international attention and raise concerns about the escalation of violence and its impact on the civilian population in the region.
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