US issues rare rebuke to Israeli prime minister: ‘Disgusting and disgusting’
The Biden administration this week issued a rare rebuke of close US ally Israel, which receives billions in foreign aid annually, following controversial remarks by far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich .
State Department spokesman Ned Price requested a statement from Smotrich “irresponsible, disgusting and disgusting” in what was probably the strongest condemnation of a senior Israeli minister in recent history.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Economy Minister Nir Barkat. AFP/Getty Images
Smotrich at the beginning of the week called on the Israelis to “exterminate” the Palestinian people of Hawaraa West Bank city that recently saw a wave of settler violence that left at least one Palestinian dead and more than 100 injured, amid a scene of burning homes and cars.
Price stressed this week that the Biden administration condemns Smotrich’s comments and views them as one “incitement to violence”. He went on to say that the United States is asking Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to publicly deny Smotrich’s comments and to incite otherwise, for the sake of peace.
According to The Times of Israel:
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s call to “exterminate” the Palestinian city of Huwara was “irresponsible, disgusting and sickening”.
“Just as we condemn Palestinian incitement to violence, we condemn these provocative comments which also amount to incitement to violence.” he says after being asked about the Prime Minister’s comments during a press conference.
“We call on Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials to do so reject and disavow publicly and clearly those comments,” adds Price.
LATEST: Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich: “The Palestinian people of Hawara should be wiped off the face of the earth. It should be done by the Israeli government, not private citizens” https://t.co/0yvEl6Q2We
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) March 1, 2023
The publication stressed that the rare sharp disagreement between the United States and Israel “came days after a terrorist shot and killed two Israeli brothers who were driving through Huwarawhich was followed by many settlers who razed the city of the Nablus area in which resulted in the death of one Palestinian, about 300 wounded, four of them seriously, and dozens of vehicles and buildings set on fire.”
All this has threatened to break US-Israel relations, as Al Monitor reports:
An anonymous spokesman for the National Security Council told the American press on Thursday There were no meetings scheduled for next week between Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and any US officials.not even US Treasury Department officials.
Smotrich is scheduled to arrive in Washington for the Israel Bonds organization’s annual event, which will take place March 12-14.
#Huwara city today after settler attack in #westbank pic.twitter.com/b3xofyp0kr
— Oren Ziv (@OrenZiv_) February 27, 2023
Palestinian officials have condemned what they called a “pogrom” – and the revenge attacks have continued, with the situation continuing to boil over, especially in the Nablus government region of the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank.