UAE condemns Israeli minister's comments about dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza Strip

Saudi Arabia and Arab Parliament also criticise the remarks and hit out at international community's 'shameful silence'

This picture taken from a position near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 5, 2023, shows flares dropped by Israeli forces above the Palestinian enclave amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement.  (Photo by Aris MESSINIS  /  AFP)
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The UAE has condemned comments by Israeli Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu about dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip.

Mr Eliyahu made the remarks on Sunday as he spoke about the options available to Israel.

He was later suspended from cabinet meetings, but his comments caused international outrage, with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing its condemnation through state news agency Wam.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms the UAE’s categorical rejection of the threat of using nuclear weapons,” it said.

“The UAE stresses that the immediate priority is to preserve the lives of civilians and provide them with necessary humanitarian assistance.”

The ministry also called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of life.

It emphasised the importance of protecting civilians according to international law, including international treaties, and the need to ensure they are not targets during conflict.

“The UAE calls on the international community to intensify efforts to avoid further fuelling the situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and to advance all efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace, while preventing the region from being drawn into new levels of violence, tension and instability,” the ministry said.

Saudi Arabia also denounces comments

But Mr Eliyahu's suspension was not enough, according to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, which said his statement showed “the extent of extremism and brutality among members of the Israeli government”.

“Not dismissing the minister from the government immediately and sufficing with freezing his membership reflects the level of indifference in all humanitarian, moral, religious and legal standards and values in the Israeli government,” state news agency SPA reported, quoting the ministry.

The Arab Parliament also condemned Mr Eliyahu's remarks.

“The oppressive occupying force would not have been able to commit such criminal acts and threaten to use weapons of mass destruction if it were not for the shameful silence that still prevails in the international community,” said the assembly, SPA reported.

“This silence persists despite the genocidal and racist war waged by the occupying force against the Palestinian people.

“Moreover, the AP calls on the International Atomic Energy Agency to fulfil its international responsibilities, condemn these statements as an official acknowledgement by the occupation Israeli government of its possession of nuclear weapons, and officially record it.”

About 9,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war, which began when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,400 people and taking at least 240 others hostage.

The latest from the Israel-Gaza war – in pictures

Updated: November 06, 2023, 7:05 AM