Saudi, Qatar condemn Israel minister's remarks on Palestinian town

AFP , Saturday 4 Mar 2023

Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Friday condemned a call by an Israeli minister for a flashpoint Palestinian town to be "wiped out", with Riyadh describing it as "racist and irresponsible".

Tamim and MBS
File Photo of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, right, greeting UAE president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, upon his arrival at the Hamad airport in Doha, Qatar, December 5, 2022. AP


Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right member of Israel's coalition government, made his comments on Wednesday, days after two Israeli settlers were shot dead in Huwara, prompting hundreds of others to attack the northern West Bank town.

"I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out," Smotrich said. "I think the State of Israel should do it."

Later, he said on Twitter that he "didn't mean to erase the village of Huwara, but only to act in a targeted way against the terrorists".

The Saudi foreign ministry expressed its "complete rejection of such racist and irresponsible statements, which reflect the massive violence and extremism the Israeli occupation entity is exercising against the brotherly Palestinians."

Qatar described Smotrich's comments as "hateful and provocative" and said it considered them "a serious incitement to a war crime".

Neither Saudi Arabia nor Qatar has diplomatic ties with Israel.UN human rights chief Volker Turk denounced Smotrich's comments on Huwara as "an unfathomable statement of incitement to violence and hostility".


On Wednesday the US State Department called them "irresponsible", "repugnant" and "disgusting".

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