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US condemns Israeli minister’s ‘repugnant’ call

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
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)

The Biden administration has condemned Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich's call for a Palestinian village to be erased as “repugnant”.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the call amounted to incitement to violence and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must publicly disavow it.

An ultranationalist in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's extremist coalition said on Wednesday the Palestinian village of Huwara should be “wiped out” days after extremist settlers went on a rampage in the occupied West Bank villages, torching dozens of houses and cars.

“I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the state of Israel should do it,” Smotrich was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

Price told reporters that Smotrich's comments "were irresponsible. They were repugnant. They were disgusting."

Price continued: "And just as we condemn Palestinian incitement to violence, we condemn these provocative remarks that also amount to incitement to violence."

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.

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