Far-right Israeli minister says Palestinian town in West Bank ‘must be wiped out’

Jerusalem (CNN) — Bezalel Smotrich, the Israeli Finance Minister and leader of the far-right religious Zionist party, said on Wednesday that the Palestinian town of Huwwara “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.

Finance Minister Smotrich was asked Wednesday why he liked a Twitter post after the brothers were shot, but before the settlers got angry, said Huwwara should be erased.

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

The senior Israeli general in the West Bank, Yehuda Fuchs, on Tuesday night referred to the actions of Israeli settlers as a “massacre”.

General Fox said, on Tuesday evening, that the Israeli army was not sufficiently prepared for the revenge attacks that followed the killing of the Yaniv brothers in the town, on Sunday.

Fox added, in unusually blunt remarks by an Israeli military official critical of Israeli settlers: “We did not prepare for a massacre on the scale of dozens of people who would come in with incendiary devices… They went and set fire to random Palestinian homes, 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 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 police.

He said, “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.

Israeli police said Wednesday 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.”

“The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected,” the statement said.

Israeli police said earlier that eight 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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