Germany on Monday condemned statements by an Israeli minister who threatened to consider using nuclear bombs in the Gaza war.
The remarks by Israel’s Cultural Heritage Minister Amichai Elijahu are “of course to be condemned. Such statements are unacceptable,” Kathrin Deschauer, deputy spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a press briefing in Berlin.
During an interview on Sunday, Eliyahu, a minister from the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, said dropping a “nuclear bomb” on the Gaza Strip is “an option.”
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from this statement and, according to media reports, suspended Eliyahu from Cabinet meetings until further notice.
Israel is reportedly believed to have around 80 to 90 plutonium-based nuclear warheads, and enough material for more than 200, making it one of only nine nuclear-armed countries alongside Russia, the US, China, France, the UK, Pakistan, India, and North Korea.
The arsenal consists of an estimated 30 gravity bombs for delivery by aircraft, with the remainder of the warheads for delivery by missiles.
In other related news, the German Foreign Ministry urged Israel to respect press freedom after a tense standoff between Israeli soldiers and a TV crew of German public broadcaster ARD in the West Bank.
“In such a tense situation in which we currently find ourselves, freedom of the press is of course an extremely valuable asset,” Deschauer told media representatives in Berlin.
She demanded that representatives of the press on site be given free access inside Israel to report on the issue.
An ARD team said it was temporarily detained and threatened by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. According to the broadcaster, the soldiers behaved extremely aggressively towards the journalists who were threatened with weapons on several occasions. It was only after more than an hour that the situation calmed down after more soldiers and police were called in, it said.
Source : aa