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Israeli minister Bezalel Smotrich: “The Palestinian village of Hawara should be wiped out..."

12:00 Mar 1 2023 Israel ( יִשְׂרָאֵל0 * دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل‎ ) and Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) الأراضي الفلسطينية

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Israeli Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Interview. Screenshot. Published by Haaretz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who called Wednesday to 'wipe out' the Palestinian village of Huwara. Credit: Ronen Zvulun /AP Published by Haaretz
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via Twitter

Barak Ravid
@BarakRavid

BREAKING: Israeli minister of finance Bezalel Smotrich: “The Palestinian village of Hawara should be wiped out of the earth. The Israeli government needs to do it and not private citizens”

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@MatanHodorov
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שר האוצר @bezalelsm בראיון עמי לוועידה הפיננסית של דמרקר: ״עשיתי לייק לציוץ שקרא למחוק את הכפר חווארה, כיוון שאני חושב שאת הכפר חווארה צריך למחוק. המדינה היא זו שצריכה למחוק אותו״.

[Finance Minister @bezalelsm in an interview with Democker's financial conference: "I caused row liking a tweet calling to wipe out the village of Huwara, because I think the village of Huwara should be wiped out. The state is the one who needs to wipe it out."]
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Palestinian 'Village of Hawara Needs to Be Wiped Out': Israel's Far-right Finance Minister Justifies 'Disproportionate' Response to Terrorism

Days after settlers went on the rampage in Hawara, Finance Minster Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, doubles down on supporting its destruction and denies that 'Jewish terrorism' exists

by Chen Maanit and Ben Samuels for Haaretz
Mar 1, 2023 3:28 pm IST

Israel’s finance minister called for the destruction of a West Bank Palestinian village on Wednesday, days after it was attacked by a mob of settlers who torched dozens of homes and reportedly killed one resident.

“The village of Hawara needs to be wiped out. I think that the State of Israel needs to do that – not, God forbid, private individuals,” Bezalel Smotrich said when asked why he had “liked” a tweet by the deputy head of the Samaria Regional Council, Davidi Ben Zion, who called for Hawara to be “wiped out today.”

That post, since deleted, followed the shooting deaths of two Israelis, the brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv, who were driving through the village Sunday. After the attack, hundreds of settlers entered Hawara and burned 36 houses, wounded dozens of people and reportedly killed 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash.

Smotrich is also a minister in the Defense Ministry responsible for the Civil Administration, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank. He called for a “disproportional” response to Palestinian violence and denied that "Jewish terrorism" existed. On Tuesday, the head of the army's Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, called the settlers' rampage in Hawara a “pogrom.”

In Washington on Wednesday, when asked about Smotrich's comments, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said: "We remain extremely concerned by ongoing violence in the region. We urge Israel and the Palestinian Authority to protect against further loss of civilian life. We have made our view clear: We oppose statements or actions by either side that exacerbate tensions."

On Monday, 22 Israeli international law experts asked the attorney general to investigate Smotrich and two other pro-settlement lawmakers for “inducing war crimes.”

On Wednesday, state prosecutors approved an investigation into one of them, Otzma Yehudit's Tzvika Foghel, for incitement to terrorism.

In a radio interview Monday, Fogel expressed support for the attack on Hawara, saying that "the deterrence that was achieved yesterday following these so-called pogroms hadn't been achieved in the West Bank since Operation Defensive Shield" by the army in 2002 during the second intifada.

“Hawara burned and shut down: That’s what I want to see,” Foghel said.

Responding to the news of the investigation, Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir accused the state prosecution of bias against the right wing. Ben-Gvir, who is also national security minister, said prosecutors had refused to take action against rhetoric by left-wing politicians who made similar statements.

There is “one law for the right and one law for the left and [this is] clear proof of the need for the [judicial] reform” being promoted by the government, he said.

The other lawmaker, Limor Son Har Melech, also of Otzma Yehudit, said she visited Hawara on Sunday evening to “support the just demands of hundreds of West Bank residents who are protesting and demanding security.”

In their letter, the legal experts said that “all the aforementioned remarks imply support in advance [in the cases of Ben Zion and Smotrich], support in real time [Son Har Melech] or justification after the fact [Foghel], and amount to encouragement to commit similar attacks in the future.”

The letter concludes with a demand “that all the Jewish rioters in Hawara be arrested and prosecuted immediately, with the case treated with the same severity as terrorist acts committed by Palestinians, all subject to human rights law and in accordance with international law.”
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