Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Israeli minister of finance, Bezalel Smotrich, who is also the civil administrator of the Palestinian West Bank in the Defense Ministry, called Wednesday for the Palestinian town of Huwwara to be “wiped out of existence.” Smotrich was at a conference held by the financial newspaper TheMarker, and was asked why he liked a Tweet sent out by Samaria Regional Council deputy head David Ben-Zion, which called for Huwwara to be “erased today” and added that there was “no room for mercy,” according to the Jerusalem Post..
Smotrich said that he liked the Tweet because he agreed that Huwwara needed to be wiped out of existence.
He clarified, however, that he wanted the Israeli state to carry out the act of ethnic cleansing (my term) rather than the squatters on the Palestinian West Bank (my term). Since Smotrich is the Israeli state in the West Bank now, he is in a position to make that happen.
On Sunday a Jewish supremacist mob, angered by the killing of two Israeli squatters on Palestinian land in Huwwara by a gunman from Nablus’s “Lion’s Den” resistance movement, swarmed into the town of nearly 7,000 Palestinians, setting fire to trees, automobiles and houses, firing live ammunition, and attacking people who had nothing to do with that attack. They killed Sameh Aqtash, 37, a carpenter who had gone to help people in earthquake-struck Turkiye and had just returned. He was shot in the stomach by a squatter. Over a hundred other people were injured by the rabid rabble.
The attack did $5 million worth of damage.
Huwwara is known for its aquifer water, which aids its agriculture, and for its commerce. It is especially known for its goldsmiths.
The Israeli army appears to have done almost nothing to stop the squatters, and indeed may have protected them.
State Department Spokesman Ned Price called Smotrich’s comment “repugnant.” Really, Ned? Just “repugnant?” Wearing a tan suit after Labor Day is repugnant. I’d say this comment by Smotrich deserved some more visceral adjectives. And apparently the Biden administration thinks it is all right for the minister to come to the United States in March to raise money.
The DAWN human rights organization is calling for the US to ban Smotrich’s entry.
Back in the zeroes, Iran had a quirky president named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He quoted an old speech by Ruho’llah Khomeini saying that “the occupation regime over Jerusalem will vanish from the page of time.”
This quote was mistranslated by the wire services as “Israel must be wiped off the face of the map.” I was never able to convince many people that Ahmadinejad, who was widely hated in the West, was being misquoted and that he hadn’t threatened to wipe anything off of anything, just quoted a prophecy from an old cleric. Maybe it wasn’t a very nice thing to say about Israel’s future, but it wasn’t a threat. That Ahmadinejad menaced Israel with being wiped off the face of the map became a de rigeur tag line of all newspaper articles about Iran as long as he was president, 2005-13.
Now you have a minister of the Israeli government and viceroy over the Palestinian West Bank saying that a Palestinian town should actually be wiped out of existence.
Because of the biases of the US and European press, Smotrich’s monstrous threat will not become a tag line. Maybe it won’t be widely reported, even when he enters the U.S. to raise money from Americans for his genocidal plans.
That’s because Palestinian lives are not thought to matter over here.