As the war between Israel and Hamas is currently paused due to a temporary truce, X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk paid a two-day visit to Israel, where he observed the damage and destruction caused during the surprise attack by the Hamas militant group on October 7. During his visit, Musk met Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and agreed that Hamas must be destroyed.
Musk's visit coincided with an extension of the four-day truce on Monday, amid intense diplomatic efforts. The fourth day of the truce saw the release of 11 hostages as part of the deal for 50 hostages to be freed in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.
What did Musk say?
In a live chat with Netanyahu, Musk said that there is 'no choice' other than to destroy Hamas in order to build a better future for the people of Gaza and agreed with the Israeli PM that the militant group had genocidal intentions towards Jewish people, according to The Times of Israel.
"If you want security, peace and a better life for Gazans, then you need to destroy Hamas. You first have to get rid of the poisonous regime as was done in Germany and Japan," said Netanyahu, to which Musk replied, "There's no choice."
Musk further offered to help rebuild Gaza after the ongoing war ends, asserting that rehabilitating the conflict-torn Strip is an important step to prevent future wars. He also said that civilian casualties are "unavoidable" but Israel is doing its best to avoid them during the conflict.
"You need to pair firmness and taking out the terrorists and those intent on murder, and at the same time help those that remain, which is what happened in Germany and Japan... Usually the victor punishes the loser," he said during the chat, highlighting the rehabilitation of Germany and Japan after the Second World War.
Why is Musk in Israel?
Musk's visit coincided with a rising criticism of the social media platform X for failing to combat anti-semitic speech. Musk himself came under criticism for agreeing with an online post that claimed that Jewish people were inciting hatred against white people. The war, which is close to two months now, has already led to an increase in anti-semitic and Islamophobic sentiment across the world.
Earlier this month, Musk announced that X would donate all revenue from advertising and subscriptions associated with the war in Gaza to Israeli hospitals and to a humanitarian group operating in the Strip, amid the backlash, although he was not sure how he could provide money to the organisation without it getting in the hands of Hamas.
Musk also announced earlier that X users who deploy anti-semitic terms “decolonisation,” “from the river to the sea” and other speech that “necessarily imply genocide” will be removed from the social media platform.
In a conversation between Netanyahu and Musk in September, the Knesset leader said that he hoped that the X owner would roll back online anti-semitism and "collective hatred of people". Musk assured that he was against attacking any group.