Israeli minister calls for the assassination of 'thousands' of Palestinians

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Jun 2023

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gviron called for his government to construct more settlements in the occupied West Bank and assassinate "hundreds, or if needed, thousands" of Palestinians.

Israel s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir
Israel s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at Evyatar, just outside the northern West Bank city of Nablus. AFP


In a visit to the illegal outpost of Evyatar on Friday, Ben-Gviron said, "I give you my full and complete backing, but I want much more from the settlement here, there needs to be a full settlement here, not only here, but in all the hills around us."

"We have to settle the land of Israel and at the same time need to launch a military campaign, blow up buildings, assassinate terrorists. Not one, or two, but dozens, hundreds, or if needed, thousands," he added.

"Because, ultimately, it is the only way we will seize this place, strengthen our hold and restore security to the residents, the Land of Israel is for the people of Israel, we are backing you, run to the hills, settle down. We love you."

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Saturday described Ben-Gvir's statements as abhorrent and demonstrating clear criminal and murderous intent, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

“Such odious comments reflect Israel’s abject disregard for Palestinian lives and the pervasive culture of impunity in Israel with regard to Palestinian lives and rights. This impunity and criminal tendency are encouraged and bolstered by the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its systematic and widespread egregious violations of international law and Palestinian rights,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added, "The Israeli government is committing all these crimes while enjoying cover, protection, and even pandering by key international players that amount to outright complicity and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor must understand that Israel reads his continued silence, procrastination, and diminishing of the investigation into the situation in Palestine as a lack of interest."

The White House also decries Ben-Gvir's statements to the Israeli settlers, "Run to the hills, the land must be settled." 

"The United States does not support the expansion of construction in the settlements, and this policy hasn't changed," John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said in a briefing Friday.

Illegal settlements increasing

Israeli settlers, protected by soldiers, established on Saturday a new outpost on Palestinian lands in the town of Deir Istya, west of the northern West Bank city of Salit, according to the town’s mayor Muath Salman.

Salman told WAFA that dozens of settlers broke into an area north of the town, set up two mobile homes and three livestock sheds, opened a dirt road, and extended water and electricity lines to the site.

UN estimates indicate that about 700,000 illegal settlers are living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

According to Israeli media, at least seven new illegal outposts were built in the West Bank since Thursday. 

The new construction follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement on Wednesday of plans for 1,000 new homes in the Eli illegal settlement.

On Friday, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, Riyad Mansour said during the general discussion of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that the Israeli occupying forces and settlers continue killing and terrorizing Palestinians, while openly chanting “death to the Arabs", with complete impunity.

“The counter-terrorism discourse cannot and must not become the way to justify a counter-rights strategy,” he added. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be about promoting the rule of law, not justifying its breach. It should address the root causes of terrorism, not perpetuate them, he stressed.

He said that the most dangerous form of terrorism is motivated and sponsored by the state, in which an entire nation’s rights, people, and land are under a constant and systematic campaign of terror, stressing that the Palestinian people deserve the solidarity of the international community, and have the right to international protection.

"It is shameful that Israeli occupying forces and settlers have not yet been included in the list of perpetrators of crimes against children," he added.

Brutal settlers attack

The Israeli army on Monday carried out a series of air strikes on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, murdering at least seven Palestinians, including a boy and a girl, and wounding 91 Palestinians, according to the UN statement.

On Wednesday, illegal settlers under the protection of Israel's occupation military carried out a brutal attack on the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya in the central West Bank, murdering one Palestinian and wounding dozens of others and burning 30 houses, 60 cars, and dozens of olive trees.

On Saturday, a young Palestinian was left to bleed to death following a shooting attack at Qalandia military checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, according to witnesses and Israeli reports, said WAFA.

Reports said a Palestinian armed with a machine gun opened fire at Israeli soldiers stationed at the crossing from the West Bank into occupied East Jerusalem, lightly injuring an Israeli guard in the hand before he was shot and fatally injured.

Witnesses said the Palestinian, who was identified as Ishaq Hamdi Ajlouni, 17, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kufr Aqab, which falls beyond Israel’s wall that segregates Jerusalem from its West Bank environs, was left bleeding on the ground for hours until he was declared dead.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health also said that a 39-year-old man critically injured Friday by an Israeli army bullet during an Israeli army incursion into Nablus, has succumbed to his wounds on Saturday.

It said Tareq Mousa Idris was shot in the abdomen.

With this death, the Israeli army killed or caused the death of 180 Palestinians in the occupied territories since the start of the year, according to Palestinian toll.

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