Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, May 30, 2023.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, chair of the Religious Zionism party, is warning that leaks to the media are causing Gaza’s Hamas terrorist organization to raise its demands.

“It has been proven time and time again that negotiating from a position of weakness and surrender leads to the opposite result. [Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar interprets this as weakness, doubles down on his position even more and refuses any offer,” Smotrich pointed out.


“We were able to bring about the previous deal because we managed it out of the strength of unity and determination and while exerting intense military pressure.

“The time has come to renew with all our might the military pressure in Rafah and in all parts of the Strip, to take control of the delivery of humanitarian aid in such a way that it does not reach Hamas, and to talk to Sinwar with shells and bombs. Only in this way can we, with God’s help, return the kidnapped, maintain security and win,” he said.

Any partial ceasefire deal that allows for the release of murderous terrorists in order to win the freedom of only a portion of the remaining 133 hostages held by Hamas and its allies will create further torment to Israel, he emphasized.

“Too many times in the past we said that it was possible to release murderous terrorists and that “the IDF knew how to deal with them”. There has not been a single time when this has not blown up in our faces and exacted a huge price from us in human lives, women and children and the elderly,” he pointed out.

“Celebrating the release of hundreds of hardened terrorists is terrible image of victory for Hamas, an image of achievement that will be projected to all our enemies and put all the Jews of the world at risk of kidnapping,” Smotrich warned.

“It will strengthen Hamas and make it the most important and influential factor in the radical axis led by Iran, while all this is part of a deal that does not include all the abductees and will most likely determine the fate of those who would remain captives. These are fighters we sent, and we must not abandon them.”

Smotrich also warned that returning Gazans to the north of the Strip before entirely clearing out Hamas terrorists will endanger the residents of the Gaza Envelope, the southern Israeli region along the Gaza border that was attacked on October 7. More than 1,200 people were slaughtered when Hamas-led barbarians broke through the security fence and invaded the country, decimating more than a dozen Israeli towns along the way.

“One million Gazan citizens returning to the north of the Gaza Strip will greatly limit the IDF’s freedom of action. We will be forced to return to the pattern of operation in which Hamas engages in terror from within the population and uses it as a human shield that makes it very difficult for us to thwart it,” he said.

“The IDF and God forbid our fighters will pay with their lives because we cannot open fire in a dense civilian environment.

“Hamas will control the humanitarian aid and use it to restore its terrorist capabilities at a rapid pace. Very quickly Hamas will return to shoot towards the settlements of the south.

“The residents of the south will be forced to live for months and years under constant threat and need to stay 15 seconds away from their bomb shelters and will not be able to maintain a normal life routine.

“This is not what we promised them and ourselves after October 7th,” he reminded.

The minister echoed the repeated declarations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, maintaining the residents of northern Gaza cannot return return to their homes until after the IDF destroys Hamas and rids the sector of terrorist infrastructure, operatives and weapons.

“Until then, this is a combat zone where the presence of civilians is dangerous for them and our forces,” Smotrich said.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.