DUBAI: Saudi Arabia condemned remarks from an Israeli minister who appeared to voice openness to the idea of Israel carrying out a nuclear strike on Gaza, a Saudi foreign ministry statement said on Sunday.
The Israeli minister’s comments showed the penetration of “extremism and brutality” among members of the Israeli government, the Saudi statement said.
Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying that the minister concerned — Heritage Minister Amihay Eliyahu, from a far-right party in the coalition government — had been suspended from cabinet meetings “until further notice”.
Asked in a radio interview about a hypothetical nuclear option, Eliyahu had replied: “That’s one way.” His remark made headlines in Arab media, scandalised mainstream Israeli broadcasters and was deemed “objectionable” by a US official.
Neither Eliyahu or his party leader are in the streamlined ministerial forum running the Gaza war. Neither would they have inside knowledge of Israel’s nuclear capabilities — which it does not publicly acknowledge — or authority to activate them.
“Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF (military) 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’s office said.