The game, which shows Gaza divided into Hebrew-named areas, was part of a right-wing event that advocated for the reoccupation of the Palestinian territory
Delegates at an Israeli conference calling for the re-settlement of Israelis in Gaza were handed a board game that seemingly allowed players to map out where they would establish homes in the enclave after it was conquered.
The game, titled, “Come Build Your House in Gaza!” shows a layout of Gaza separated into different neighborhoods with Hebrew names and explanations of the meaning behind each of them.
The game was seen at the Victory Of Israel conference, an event hosted in Jerusalem on Sunday by right-wing Israeli politicians, campaigners and religious figures calling for the building of Israeli settlements in Gaza after the end of the war.
The conference was attended by 11 cabinet ministers and 15 coalition members of parliament, including far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who delivered keynote speeches at the event.
The conference was held amid the ongoing war in Gaza, which erupted on Oct. 7, when Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the enclave, launched a rocket attack on Israel, killing more than 1,200 Israelis, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
Israel has been bombing Gaza for nearly four months, killing more than 20,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and displacing nearly 90% of its population, according to the UN.
The conference was also held despite the recent warnings and rulings from the US and the UN, which have urged and ordered Israel to stop its attacks and incitement in Gaza, and to respect the rights and the dignity of the Palestinians.
On Friday, the US Supreme Court issued an order that halted Israel’s plan to install razor wire along the border, pending further review by a lower court. The order was a response to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, which argued that Israel’s plan violated federal law and interfered with the federal government’s authority to manage the border.
On the same day, the International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest judicial body, issued a provisional order that agreed with South Africa’s claim that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza, and ordered Israel to cease its military operations and to allow humanitarian access and aid to Gaza.
“Gaza Is Ours”
The game, however, was met with enthusiasm and applause by the attendees, who waved Israeli flags and chanted slogans such as “Gaza is ours” and “We will return”.
Players of the game were invited to place wooden house-shaped blocks, with their names written on stickers, on the neighborhoods they wanted to settle in.
Among them was the “Heroes of Gaza Neighborhood”, which the game said would be established on top of the Shujaiya neighborhood. An estimated 300 people were killed in a single Israeli strike on a residential block in Shujaiya in December of last year.
“The translation to Hebrew is ‘Neighborhood of the Brave,'” read the caption, referring to its current name. “The name comes from the Muslims who fought the Crusaders in the Gaza area. The name can also be attributed to the [Israeli army] fighters who fought in the city,” it said.
Another was listed as the “Gavish neighborhood”, currently al-Nasser, which the game said was named after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who fought with Israel repeatedly, including in the 1967 war that saw the capture of Gaza.
“Its name will be changed to honor chief commander of the Southern Command in the 6-day war, Yeshayahu Gavish,” read the caption, using another name for the 1967 war.
The game was part of a larger campaign by the right-wing Nachala organization, a group advocating for the expansion of Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal by international and humanitarian bodies.
The group said that its goal was to “return the Jewish people to their homeland” and to “restore the security and the sovereignty of Israel” in Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel evacuated in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The group said that it believed that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank was a mistake and a betrayal, and that it only emboldened and empowered Hamas and its allies, who have been attacking and threatening Israel ever since.
The group said that it planned to organize more events and activities to promote and prepare for the resettlement of Gaza and the West Bank, and that it hoped to inspire and recruit more supporters and settlers for its cause.
The game and the conference, however, were dismissed and denounced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that the idea of rebuilding settlements in Gaza and the West Bank was unrealistic and irresponsible, and that it would only worsen and prolong the war and the crisis.
Netanyahu said that he was committed and determined to end the war and to restore the peace and the security to Israel and the region, and that he was working and cooperating with the US and the international community to achieve that goal.
Netanyahu also said that he was committed and determined to pursue and punish the Hamas leaders and operatives, who are responsible and accountable for the war crimes and the atrocities they have committed against Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Netanyahu also said that he was committed and determined to support and assist the humanitarian and the development needs and the rights of the Palestinian people, who have been suffering under the Hamas tyranny and oppression.
Netanyahu also said that he was committed and determined to resume and advance the peace talks and the work towards a two-state solution, based on the mutual recognition and the respect of the rights and the aspirations of both peoples, and on the principles and the resolutions of the international law and the UN.
Netanyahu also said that he respected and appreciated the views and the sentiments of the right-wing ministers and their supporters, but that he disagreed and differed with them on the best and the most effective way to secure and to serve Israel’s interests and values.