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Israeli minister says Palestinian village Huwara should be ‘wiped out’

An aerial view of a yard where cars were torched overnight, in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Israeli regime minister has called for the destruction of the Palestinian village of Huwara, days after illegal settlers went on a rampage centering on the village near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

“I think Huwara needs to be wiped out,” said Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also handles civil administration in the occupied West Bank, adding that "Israel should do it," Israeli media reported on Wednesday.

On Sunday night, hundreds of armed Israeli settlers attacked Huwara and nearby villages and torched dozens of houses and cars. They were angered by the killing of two Israeli brothers by a Palestinian gunman in Huwara.

One Palestinian was killed and at least 390 injured in the attacks, with Palestinian media reporting stabbings and attacks with metal rods and rocks.

Israeli rights groups Peace Now and B’Tselem described the incident as a settler “pogrom” supported by the occupying regime.

Israeli forces often do not prevent settler raids and rarely charge perpetrators of such atrocities. 

Attacks against Palestinians have escalated since late December 2022, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power as prime minister of the occupying regime’s most far-right cabinet ever.

Israeli forces have carried out three large-scale raids in Palestinian cities since Israel’s new cabinet took office at the end of last year, including one in Nablus late last month, which led to the largest Palestinian death toll in a single Israeli military operation since 2005.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has called for “international intervention” against Israeli crimes.

“We hold the occupation authorities fully responsible for these heinous crimes, which reflect a systematic policy" practiced by the Israeli administration, whose ministers demonstrate their "support for those crimes in violation of international laws,” he said in a statement on Monday.

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