US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s call to “wipe out” the Palestinian town of Huwara were “irresponsible, repugnant and disgusting.”
“Just as we condemn Palestinian incitement to violence, we condemn these provocative remarks that also amounts to incitement to violence,” he says after being asked about the senior minister’s comments during a press briefing.
“We call on Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials to publicly and clearly reject and disavow these comments,” Price adds.
The remark by Smotrich — who is the finance minister and also a minister in the Defense Ministry in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank — came days after a terrorist shot dead two Israeli brothers who were driving through Huwara. which was followed by many settlers rampaging through the Nablus-area town in what led to the death of one Palestinian, some 300 injured — four of whom seriously — and dozens of vehicles and buildings torched.
The Religious Zionism party leader, who was taking part in a financial conference hosted by The Marker business daily, was asked why he had on Sunday evening “liked” a tweet by Samaria Regional Council deputy mayor Davidi Ben Zion that called “to wipe out the village of Huwara today.”
“Because I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the State of Israel should do it,” Smotrich replied.
He added “God forbid,” that the job should not be done by private citizens. He condemned the rampage, saying, “We shouldn’t be dragged into anarchy in which civilians take the law into their own hands.”