Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday to take measures to neutralize threats made by Israel to use nuclear weapons in Gaza.
Al-Maliki sent a message to IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi about recent remarks made by Israel’s far-right Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu that dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was “one of the possibilities” the government was considering to deal with the threat from the Palestinian group Hamas.
Al-Maliki said the threat by the Israeli minister is a threat to all countries and the IAEA and its member states should pay immediate attention to the issue.
He called for international condemnation of Eliyahu’s remarks and the implementation of all necessary measures to neutralize this clear threat to the lives of Palestinians and neighboring countries.
Describing the remarks as being among the "leaks of ideas from Israeli Cabinet meetings to destroy Gaza and commit genocide against the Palestinian people," Al-Maliki said they were entirely in line with the widespread discourse in Israel.
"This is considered an official admission of Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The occupying power has developed nuclear weapons through illegal means and has refused to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," he said, suggesting that the threat of using nuclear weapons in Gaza is aimed at escalating the conflict and deepening the occupation.
Following Eliyahu’s remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended him from Cabinet meetings indefinitely.
Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid had called on Netanyahu to dismiss Eliyahu.
In the wake of the reactions to his remarks, Eliyahu backtracked, saying his statement about the nuclear bomb was "metaphorical."