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28 Nov, 2023 18:42

Islam in Gaza needs radical changes – Netanyahu

The Israeli prime minister said that he intends to root out the “poisonous” ideology from Palestinian mosques and schools
Islam in Gaza needs radical changes – Netanyahu

Israel will purge Gaza’s mosques and schools of their “poisonous” ideology once its war with Hamas concludes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told X (aka Twitter) owner Elon Musk in an interview on Monday.

The Israeli premier pointed to the wealthy Gulf states as examples of Muslim countries that had been “de-radicalized.”

Speaking to Musk in an interview live-streamed on X, Netanyahu said that the destruction of Hamas would be a “precursor” to more systemic changes in Gaza.

“We have to demilitarize Gaza after the destruction of Hamas. We have to de-radicalize Gaza, and that will take some time,” he stated. “Especially work on the mosques and on the schools, that’s where children imbibe their values. And then we have to rebuild Gaza.” 

Throughout Israel’s seven-week air and ground campaign in the Palestinian enclave, Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that Hamas will cease to exist by the time the operation ends. However, he has been less clear on the future of the territory. 

While some in his government have called for the wholesale ethnic cleansing and occupation of the strip, the prime minister said earlier this month that “there has to be a civilian government there," without explaining whether that government would be run by the Palestinian Authority or another political group.

Expanding on his vision of a “de-radicalized” Gaza, Netanyahu told Musk that “you first have to get rid of the poisonous regime, as you did in Germany, as you did in Japan in World War II.”

Netanyahu pointed to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as examples of Arab states that had undergone this process, likely referring to their recognition of Israel in 2020. With Riyadh on the cusp of a US-brokered recognition deal before the current war began, Netanyahu added that the “same thing is happening to a considerable extent in Saudi Arabia.”

The Israeli leader suggested that his country’s “Arab friends” could help rebuild Gaza, where the UN estimates that around half of all homes have been destroyed since the war began. Earlier this month, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that the Arab nations would not take part in any potential post-conflict peacekeeping in Gaza, nor would they “clean the mess” left behind by the Israeli military.

“How could anybody talk about the future of Gaza when we do not know what kind of Gaza will be left once this aggression ends?” Safadi asked at the time.

Musk traveled to Israel on Monday to meet with Netanyahu and the families of Israelis taken as hostages by Hamas. The trip came amid accusations from Jewish groups that the billionaire was allowing anti-Semitic content on X, and ended with Musk endorsing Israel’s assault on Gaza.

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