Israeli PM says Minister’s call to erase Palestinian village ‘inappropriate’

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Israeli PM says Minister’s call to erase Palestinian village ‘inappropriate’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged a senior cabinet minister’s call to “erase” a Palestinian village as “inappropriate,” after the US had urged the Prime Minister to reject it.
 

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged a senior cabinet minister’s call to “erase” a Palestinian village as “inappropriate,” after the US had urged the Prime Minister to reject it.

In his Twitter post on Sunday, Netanyahu stopped short of outright condemnation of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, but said the minister “misspoke” and thanked him for admitting “his choice of words” was “inappropriate”.

Most of his tweet, however, focused on calling on the international community to further condemn Palestinian attacks against Israelis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The village of Hawara in the occupied West Bank was rampaged by hundreds of Israeli settlers last Sunday, who torched dozens of homes, cars and shops and killed livestock animals. A Palestinian man was shot dead, apparently by an Israeli soldier, during the attack.

The attack came hours after two Israeli brothers from a nearby settlement were killed in a shooting attack outside Hawara.

Smotrich, the ultra-nationalist leader of the pro-settler Religious Zionist Party, said during a conference on Wednesday that Hawara “must be erased. I think the State of Israel needs to do, not the settlers”.

He later told Channel 12 news TV that this was “not the right choice of words,” attributing the remarks to “a slip of the tongue in a torrent of emotion”.

It was Netanyahu’s first official comment on Smotrich’s controversial remark which had sparked an international outcry, including condemnations by the UN and several Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In a statement, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price described the remark as “repugnant” and “irresponsible,” urging Netanyahu to “publicly and clearly reject” it.


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