Middle East Eye / March 4, 2023
Posting threats on social media, Jewish settlers have threatened to ‘destroy’ the town nearly a week after a night of widespread violence left one dead and hundreds injured.
Jewish settlers have threatened to return to the occupied West Bank town of Huwwara on Saturday in a repeat of last weekend’s night of violence that left one Palestinian dead and nearly 400 others injured.
Posting threats on social media, settlers have threatened to “destroy” the town, much of which was set ablaze on Sunday.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel’s military said it has been monitoring the threats and is coordinating with the Shin Bet security service.
The calls for a second attack were spread across Twitter and in several WhatsApp groups, including “News in the Hills”, a popular updates group for radical settlers, the newspaper reported.
On Sunday, hundreds of settlers, flanked by soldiers, attacked Palestinian towns and villages near Nablus, following a shooting that killed two Israelis in the town of Huwwara earlier that day.
Israel’s police have arrested 10 people for suspected involvement in the attack.
‘Huwwara should be wiped out’
Still, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also responsible for Israel’s civil administration in the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday said Israel should “wipe out” the Palestinian village of Huwwara in the wake of Sunday’s violent rampage.
“The Palestinian village of Huwwara should be wiped out. The state needs to do it and not private citizens,” he said.
The US condemned the comments as “repugnant, irresponsible and disgusting“, with US State Department spokesman Ned Price calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials to “publicly and clearly” disavow the minister’s comments.
On Tuesday, former Defence minister Benny Gantz said Smotrich wanted “another Nakba”, a term that describes the massacres and forced expulsion Palestinians endured at the hands of Zionist militias in 1948, as the new Israeli state came into existence.
Hady Amr, US special representative for Palestinian affairs, condemned the “wide scale, indiscriminate violence” by settlers after visiting Huwwara, and said that he wanted to see “full accountability and legal prosecution” of the settlers responsible for the mob violence.
Also on Tuesday, a group of 22 Israeli legal experts called on the attorney general to investigate Smotrich’s comments, as well as remarks by other pro-settler government MPs.