Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the obliteration of Huwara, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. Photo/REUTERS
TEL AVIV – Minister of Finance Israel Bezalel Smotrich has called on the Zionist military to destroy Huwara, the city Palestine in the West Bank.
Smotrich’s comments, which came days after groups of Jewish settlers laid siege to the city in retaliation for attacks by Palestinians, were deemed “incitement to war crimes”.
Speaking at a business conference on Wednesday, Smotrich was asked why he liked a tweet late Sunday by a local councilor calling for Huwara’s demolition.
The minister said he liked the tweet, “because I think Huwara needs to be taken down. I think the State of Israel should do it.”
A Palestinian resident in Huwara was shot dead when Jewish settlers rampaged through the town for several hours on Sunday.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that two other people were shot and wounded, while dozens of others suffered injuries. The settlers burned cars and houses in the town’s villages, before Israeli police quelled the violence.
The rioting broke out hours after two Israeli brothers were shot dead by Palestinian gunmen in the settlement of Har Bracha, five kilometers from Huwara. The settlement is one of hundreds in the West Bank, all of which are considered illegal under international law.
Residential construction was halted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, but outposts began to be built again under the current Prime Minister; Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2012.
To date, the Israeli government has officially approved 132 of these settlements, while another 147 remain illegal under Israeli law. The figure comes from Israeli peace activists.
Netanyahu gave Smotrich control of civil matters in the West Bank on Thursday, giving the hardline Israeli minister authority over planning, construction and land allocation.
Smotrich’s first act in this role was to endorse plans for more than 7,000 new homes, some of which were located in outposts that had yet to be formally approved.
Former Prime Minister and current opposition leader, Yair Lapid, described Smotrich’s words as “incitement to war crimes”.
“Jews don’t carry out pogroms and Jews don’t wipe out villages. The government has gone off track,” said Lapid, as quoted by Reuters, Thursday (2/3/2023).
Smotrich later attempted to go back on his words, claiming that he “did not mean that the city of Huwara should be destroyed”, but that Israel should act in a targeted manner against terrorists and supporters of terrorism.
Leave a Reply