On Monday, January 29th, several members of the Israeli government were seen joining a far-right convention advocating for the resettlement of the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank. The conference, organized by the right-wing Nahala organization and titled “Settlement Brings Security and Victory,” called for new Jewish settlements to be built in Palestinian territories. This gathering in occupied East Jerusalem occurred amidst international pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian statehood following its war on Gaza.
Israel withdrew its military and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 after a 38-year occupation. The debate over who will run the enclave post-war is ongoing, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating that Israel does not intend to maintain a permanent presence but will keep security control indefinitely. This stance is at odds with Israel’s international partners, including the United States, which advocate for a two-state solution as the only path to security for both sides.
At the conference, 12 ministers from Netanyahu’s Likud party who were in attendance, along with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, were spotted delivering keynote speeches. They reiterated calls for Palestinians to be removed from Gaza, sparking controversy and condemnation from some Israeli politicians and international observers.
Ben-Gvir and Smotrich’s participation in the conference, which took place after the International Court of Justice’s ruling calling on Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza, has been seen as a challenge to the international community and a potential obstacle to peace efforts in the region. The Palestinian Authority condemned the conference, stating it reflects the leanings of the Israeli right to destabilize the region.
The conference’s timing and content have sharpened divisions within Israeli society and among its international allies. Critics argue that such rhetoric and actions hinder the peace process and exacerbate tensions in an already volatile region. The event underscores the deep divisions within Israeli politics and the challenges facing the country as it navigates its relationship with the Palestinians and the broader international community.
As Israel continues to grapple with the aftermath of its war on Gaza and its internal political dynamics, the actions and statements of its government officials at events like this conference will likely continue to draw scrutiny and impact its standing on the global stage.