France’s foreign minister travelled to Qatar on Sunday for discussions over the situation in Gaza.
A top Qatari official has lashed out after an Israeli minister said dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza is “an option”, despite global calls for a ceasefire and a de-escalation in violence.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dr. Majed Al Ansari on Sunday said Israeli Minister of Heritage Amichai Eliyahu’s statement is “neither realistic or possible”.
“We believe that this is part of the rhetoric that only escalates the situation on the ground, can only be used to radicalise the situation on the ground. Obviously it is neither realistic or possible and it is certainly against all humanitarian and international law,” he said.
Al Ansari noted that none of Qatar’s international partners nor the government in Tel Aviv would agree to Eliyahu’s statement.
“We have warned against this for so many times and now we are hearing calls for the annihilation and extermination of the other people in a geographic location that is so proximate that you can’t even fire a weapon of such magnitude without it affecting your home.”
During an interview with Israel’s Kol Berama radio earlier on Sunday, Eliyahu was asked whether an atomic bomb should be dropped on Gaza. The Israeli minister responded by saying “this is one of the possibilities”.
He also claimed “there are no non-combatants in Gaza”, home to more than 2.3 million Palestinians.
The dangerous statement was met with outrage even within the Tel Aviv government and prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend Eliyahu.
“Minister Amihai Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory,” Netanyahu claimed in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Shortly after, Eliyahu appeared to backtrack on his comments, saying they were “metaphorical”.
“However, a strong and disproportionate response to terrorism is definitely required, which will clarify to the Nazis and their supporters that terrorism is not worthwhile” he added on X.
The latest developments come as Israel continues to wage a brutal war on Gaza that has lasted for nearly one month. So far, Israel has refused global calls for a ceasefire and has instead intensified its bombing on the densely-populated enclave.
Since the start of the war on October 7, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 9,488 Palestinians, including 3,826 children, with more than 1,000 others believed to be still trapped under the rubble.
Commenting on the problematic Israeli statement, Dr. Al Ansari stressed that conflicts only end with dialogue. “Unless there is a prospect for a lasting peace” there will be “more radicalisation on both sides,” he warned.
“We have to say very clearly that no level of destruction that is brought about in Gaza or anywhere else would result in an end of any conflict,” Dr. Al Ansari said.
Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tonnes of explosives on Gaza since the start of the war, making it the equivalent to two nuclear bombs, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said on Thursday.
The rights entity added that the technological developments of the bombs probably made those dropped by Israel “twice as powerful as a nuclear bomb.”
The IOF has also dropped internationally restricted white phosphorus bombs on Gaza that have the ability to cause severe burns down to the bone. Medics in Gaza are unable to treat such wounds due to a crippling siege on the Strip.
‘Genocide and ethnic cleansing’
Meanwhile on Sunday, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Doha. Both officials held talks on the latest developments in Gaza including the entry of humanitarian aid and the release of captives from Hamas.
Colonna also met Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during her visit.
Sheikh Mohammed and the French official later held a press conference at the Amiri Diwan where they both offered an overview of the unfolding situation in Gaza and diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a ceasefire.
Colonna praised the Gulf state’s diplomatic efforts in releasing captives held by Hamas and said Paris “depends on the state of Qatar to help in these dangerous moments”.
Since the start of the war, Qatar has played a crucial mediation role in hopes of releasing civilian captives held by Hamas in Gaza following the October 7 ‘Operation Al Aqsa Flood’.
Qatar’s mediation has so far led to the release of four captives, though escalations on the ground have complicated efforts in releasing the others. Hamas said it has around 230 captives, out of which around 50 have been killed by the Israeli bombardment.
Speaking to the press, Sheikh Mohammed stressed that Israel is currently “committing genocide” and ethnic cleansing in Gaza”.
“Every day, the occupation engages in genocidal practices and crimes of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, not to mention the indiscriminate bombing of hospitals, schools, refugee camps and other civilian facilities in which the displaced, women, children and the elderly have taken shelter,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
He added: “When we hear to the justifications of the occupation forces, it mentions that there is suspicion of the presence of a [resistance leader], and the cost of assassinating or targeting this leader exceeds 400 people in a neighbourhood, and we find that the international reactions, unfortunately, are not at the required level and may sometimes be shameful.”
The IOF has been using its goal to “wipe Hamas from the face of earth” as the pretext for its war on Gaza despite largely killing civilians and displacing more than one million. The occupying state has mainly targeted schools, hospitals and refugee camps, claiming that Hamas fighters were hiding in the structures.
On Saturday, the Zionist regime targeted the Al Fakhoora School in northern Gaza, in which at least 15 Palestinian civilians, including children, were killed. This came within 24 hours after Israel carried out new massacres at three hospitals and a United Nations-run school, all of which are sheltering thousands of Palestinians.
Speaking alongside the Qatari foreign minister, Colonna told the press that France is also working to “achieve security for Israel and a state for the Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, France has come under fire after French politicians submitted a bill aimed at “penalising anti-Zionism” and cracking down on pro-Palestine protests. Despite this, thousands took to the streets of France in protest against the Israeli regime’s onslaught in Gaza, joining other such protests in the west, including Washington DC.