An Israeli politician has called on Israel to forcibly eject Palestinians in Gaza to Lebanon, flatten the besieged enclave and turn it into a museum “just like in Auschwitz” concentration camp in Poland.
David Azoulay, the head of the town of Metula in northern Israel, made the comments on Israeli radio station 103FM, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
“After 7 October, instead of urging people to go south, we should direct them to the beaches. The navy can transport them to the shores of Lebanon, where there are already sufficient refugee camps,” he said.
Then, a security strip should be established from the sea to the Gaza border fence, completely empty, as a reminder of what was once there. It should resemble the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Between 1940 and 1945, around 1.1 million people (of whom around 1 million were Jews) were killed by Nazi Germany in the Auschwitz extermination camp. Around six million Jews were killed in total during the Holocaust.
“The entire Gaza Strip should be emptied and levelled flat, just like in Auschwitz. Let it become a museum, showcasing the capabilities of the state of Israel and dissuading anyone from living in the Gaza Strip,” Azoulay said.
This is what must be done to give them a visual representation.
He went on to describe Hamas’ attack on southern Israeli communities on 7 October, which killed around 1,200 people–most civilians–as “a second Holocaust”.
Call for genocide
Azoulai’s comments were widely criticised on social media, and were labelled as a call for genocide.
The remarks were also described as “sick” and “hateful” by the Auschwitz memorial museum in Poland.
“David Azoulai appears to wish to use the symbol of the largest cemetery in the world as some sort of a sick, hateful, pseudo-artistic, symbolic expression,” it tweeted on Monday.
Calling for acts that seem to transgress any civil, wartime, moral, and human laws, that may sound as a call for murder of the scale akin to Auschwitz, puts the whole honest world face-to-face with a madness that must be confronted and firmly rejected.
The museum added that it hoped Israeli authorities would react to such “shameful abuse”, adding that “terrorism can never be a response to terrorism”.
Israel’s military has killed nearly 19,000 Palestinians in attacks since 7 October, most of them children and women.
On Sunday, a new mass grave was discovered in Gaza, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.
The makeshift graveyard was found near the Fahmi al-Jarjawi School in Gaza, according to Ramy Abdu, the Euro-Med chairman. It contained the remains of dozens of civilians, as options to bury the dead become increasingly limited in Gaza as a result of Israeli bombardment and the space in official graveyards runs out.
Israeli forces have also been accused of using starvation as a weapon of war against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Human Rights Watch on Monday accused the Israeli army of “deliberately” blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while “wilfully impeding humanitarian assistance”.
It added that Israeli forces were “apparently” razing agricultural areas and depriving the civilian population of “objects indispensable to their survival”.