‘Jews don’t carry out pogroms and Jews don’t wipe out villages. The government has gone off the rails’
Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Wednesday said the Palestinian village of Huwara in the West Bank should be “wiped out,” and that the State of Israel should be the one to do it.
The remark by Smotrich – one of the most senior members of Israel’s government, and also in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank – followed riots by Israeli settlers in Huwara, leaving one Palestinian shot dead and property damaged, in response to an earlier terror attack that killed two Israelis.
His comment, which came in an interview during a financial conference, indicated that as a matter of policy, Jerusalem should remove the entire town, which has a population of 7,000.
“I liked a tweet that called for the deletion of the village of Huwara, because I think that the village of Huwara should be wiped out. It is the state [of Israel] that should erase it,” he said, referring to a tweet by Samaria Regional Council Deputy Mayor Davidi Ben Zion that called for something similar.
He added that “God forbid,” private citizens shouldn’t take it upon themselves to do it, and condemned the rampage by Israeli settlers days earlier, saying “we shouldn’t be dragged into anarchy in which civilians take the law into their own hands.”
In response, Israel’s Opposition Leader Yair Lapid called Smotrich’s remarks an “incitement to war crimes.”
“Jews don’t carry out pogroms and Jews don’t wipe out villages. The government has gone off the rails,” Lapid said.