America condemns the statements of an Israeli minister in which he called on it to “erase” a Palestinian town

(CNN) — The US State Department condemned, on Wednesday, the statements of the far-right Israeli Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, in which he called for the “erasing” of a Palestinian town.

“I want to be very clear on this matter,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “These statements were irresponsible, hateful, and disgusting. Just as we condemn Palestinian incitement to violence, we condemn these provocative statements that also amount to incitement to violence.”

Price called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “and other senior Israeli officials to publicly and clearly reject these statements and repudiate them.”

He stated, “We condemn, as always, terrorism and extremism in all its forms, and we continue to call for equal procedures for accountability for extremist acts, regardless of the backgrounds of the perpetrators or the victims.”

Smotrich, the Israeli Finance Minister and leader of the far-right “religious Zionist” party, said that the Palestinian town of Hawara “must be erased.”

The sensational remarks came in reference to a town in the occupied West Bank where two Israeli brothers were shot dead on Sunday, sparking a furore in the area by Israeli Jewish settlers that left at least one Palestinian dead, others injured, and homes and cars burned out.

When the finance minister was asked why he liked a Twitter post after the brothers were shot, but before the settlers got angry, he said that “Hawwara should be erased”.

“I think the village of Hawara should be wiped out,” he told a reporter at a conference run by the economic newspaper The Marker. “I think the state of Israel should do it, not – God forbid – ordinary citizens.”

On Tuesday night, the senior Israeli general in the West Bank, Yehuda Fuchs, described the actions of the Israeli settlers as a “massacre”.

Fox said the Israeli military was not adequately prepared for the revenge attacks that followed the killing of the Yaniv brothers in the town on Sunday. “We were not prepared for a massacre on the scale of dozens of people who come with devices,” he added, in unusually blunt remarks by an Israeli military official critical of the settlers. Incendiary…they went and set fire to random Palestinian homes and vehicles, etc. – simply indiscriminate terrorism.”

“This event in Hawara is a massacre committed by outlaws,” he said, using a word that originally meant organized riots against Jews during imperial Russia.

The Palestinians accused the Israeli army of attacking the Palestinians or stepping aside and allowing the settlers to riot.

But Fox said that the Israeli army intervened in Hawara to defend the Palestinians from the settlers, who clashed not only with the Palestinians but with the Israeli forces and the police, and added that “the soldiers of the reconnaissance unit in Golani opened fire on Israeli outlaws who almost killed Palestinians.”

The Israeli army announced that it had sent four additional battalions to the area since Sunday in an attempt to “calm” the situation and separate the Israeli settlers from the Palestinians.

On Wednesday, Israeli police said that six additional people were arrested Tuesday night in connection with the Hawara riots — four adults and two minors.

A police statement said, “These suspects were arrested on suspicion of involvement in acts of violence, arson, assault and damage in Hawara,” explaining that they are suspected of “setting vehicles and buildings on fire and attacking and harming Palestinians.” More arrests.

The Israeli police said earlier that 8 people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the riots earlier in the week, including at least two under house arrest.

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