Israeli Official Calls for Razing Palestinian Town of Huwara

The vicious statement by Bezalel Smotrich, finance minister in Netanyahu’s ultra-right government, comes days after the town of Huwara was attacked by hundreds of settlers.

Husk of a burned car among the wreckage left by a settler rampage on Feb. 27, 2023. (Osama Eid, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Peoples Dispatch

Days after it came under attack from illegal Israeli settlers, the Palestinian town of Huwara, near Nablus, was targeted by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Wednesday.

In a TV interview, Smotrich claimed that calls made by some of the extremist settlers to raze the town were just, and that instead of leaving the task to private individuals, “the state [of Israel] should be the one to do that.”

Smotrich has been a leader of the settler movement before becoming a minister in the present ultra-right government in Israel led by Benjamin Netanyahu. He also looks after settler affairs in the occupied West Bank. 

Huwara was attacked by hundreds of Israeli settlers on Sunday. At least one Palestinian was killed and close to 400 were injured. The attacking settlers torched scores of Palestinian homes and burnt their property under the full protection of Israeli security forces. 

The attacks on Huwara have not ceased since. The Israeli security forces shut down all Palestinian businesses in the town, and they remained shut even four days after the attack. A group of settlers reportedly attacked the residents of the town on Wednesday as well, when a U.S. delegation was visiting the town. 

Ever since the attacks on Sunday, Smotrich has been making statements justifying the settler violence. On Feb. 27, he retweeted a post justifying “collective punishment” (which is considered illegal in international law) as a “necessary tool.” He had also called for attacks with helicopters and tanks inside Palestinian residential areas. 

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned Smotrich’s statement and called him a “racist terrorist” who needed to be prosecuted under international law for calling for “massacres against Palestinians.”

Reacting to Smotrich’s endorsement of settler violence, former Israeli defense minister and opposition leader Benny Gantz accused him of wanting to create a second Nakba of Palestinians.

Bezalel Smotrich, left, with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman October 2017. (U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The Nakba was the mass forced migration of Palestinians caused by Israeli occupation forces at the time of the creation of Israel in 1948. According to various estimates, between 700,000 and 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their villages and towns at the time. Most of them live as refugees in different parts of the world, including in the occupied Palestinian territories.  

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visited the town of Huwara on Wednesday and proclaimed that Palestinians need to form “popular protection committees in the villages, towns and refugee camps as a real response to the settlers rampage,” Wafa reported

Shtayyeh also accused the Israeli government of encouraging settlers to carry out attacks against Palestinians “to carry out crimes of occupation” under full security cover.   

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.

6 comments for “Israeli Official Calls for Razing Palestinian Town of Huwara

  1. J Anthony
    March 5, 2023 at 08:29

    Clearly our Zionist-friendly US govt considers Israel the 51st state, thus it’s immune to any kind of standards, rules, laws, etc…yet another on an already very long list of hypocrisies and double-standards….in fact I’d say the Zionist-friendly US govt considers Israel MORE important than most US states…

  2. CaseyG
    March 4, 2023 at 20:21

    Israel has been stealing land and killing Palestinians since 1948. And still, 75 years later—America does not care, nor does Netanyahu. I was horrified when Obama let Jonathan Pollard out of prison to move to Israel. Stealing US military info seems like that would put the Pollard thief away for life. But—no matter, Israel seems to have a get out of jail card for free and forever. The least you could do America is to take those millions that Israel gets every year and help both the Palestinians and those Americans who are losing jobs and losing hope that America will even function for them

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    March 4, 2023 at 11:31

    I have absolutely NO use for this country. None.

  4. Valerie
    March 4, 2023 at 02:29

    “UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Israeli Minister’s? ‘Unfathomable’ Threat to Huwara”
    Noting that communities like Huwara are often targeted by Israeli settlers, Amnesty’s regional director urged Israel “to remove all settlements, which are war crimes under international law, and to dismantle its system of apartheid against Palestinians.”

    So, Mr Türk, why doesn’t someone prosecute the Israelis if it’s a war crime?
    And as for “unfathomable”, there are more appropriate words to describe their actions.
    (Oh yes, i believe four people have been arrested in connection with this flagrant violence.)

  5. shmutzoid
    March 3, 2023 at 18:07

    Has there been even a word of condemnation from the US about a high Israeli gov’t. official advocating mass murder?! Nah, I didn’t think so. Instead, we get that tired old refrain——> “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

    But, then, the US howls at the moon against this or that country that eludes the empire’s ‘sphere of influence’ for whatever lie it decides to fabricate.

    • Bob Martin
      March 4, 2023 at 21:17

      Israel has become a flagrantly fascist country, and the US completely supports it (which is zero surprise, as it’s supporting flagrant fascists in Ukraine too.) Shame on Israel, and shame on its main supporter, the US. Both should be BDS’ed until their governments are weakened and overthrown.

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