Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichChaim Goldberg/Flash 90

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said during an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night that, in his opinion, the State of Israel should fully control the Gaza Strip.

"Gaza cannot be controlled the day after the war by anyone other than us. Egypt cannot be involved, Qatar cannot be involved, only we need and can control Gaza," he stated.

Israel, said Smotrich, must concentrate on a national effort to encourage immigration: "Israel must encourage voluntary immigration among the residents of Gaza. Look for countries that will be willing to take them in and encourage voluntary immigration. This is part of restoring security to the Western Negev."

Minister Smotrich spoke about the processes that led to the current situation and said, "In the 8th grade I was getting beaten up because I demonstrated against the Oslo Accords. When Israel fled Gaza, we warned about what would develop in Gaza and they didn't listen to us and here in the studios they encouraged the deportation, and look what we got."

"The public will have to look and see who sold them illusions of peace and who spoke and described the reality as it is in a sharp and clear way," said the minister.

Commenting on the entry of fuel trucks into the Gaza Strip and on the transfer of money to the Palestinian Authority, Smotrich said, "I have a lot of respect for the Americans, but you have to know how to manage disputes with them. As long as I am Finance Minister, no money will go to Gaza. The entry of the fuel trucks into Gaza is serious and, in my opinion, wrong, but I don't run the government alone."

The minister stressed during the interview that "contrary to the crying and lamenting in the studios as if we are losing, we are winning, we are mowing down Hamas and destroying Gaza, the fighters are doing an outstanding job there."