The Biden administration this week issued a very rare rebuke directed at 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 called statements by Smotrich “irresponsible, repugnant and disgusting” in what was probably the most strongly worded condemnation directed at a top Israeli minister in recent history.
Smotrich earlier in the week called on Israelis to “wipe out” the Palestinian village of Hawara, a West Bank town which recently saw a wave of settler violence which left at least one Palestinian dead and injured over 100 others, amid a scene of torched homes and cars.
Price emphasized this week that the Biden administration condemns Smotrich’s comments and considers them as an “incitement to violence”. He then said the US calls on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to publicly disavow Smotrich’s comments and to urge the opposite, for the sake of peace.
The publication underscored that the rare US-Israeli sharp disagreement “came days after a terrorist shot dead two Israeli brothers who were driving through Huwara, which was followed by many settlers rampaging through the Nablus-area town in what led to the death of one Palestinian, some 300 injured — four of whom seriously — and dozens of vehicles and buildings torched.”
Palestinian officials have condemned what they called a “pogrom” – and tit-for-tat revenge attacks have continued, with the situation continuing to be at boiling point, particularly in the Nablus Governate region of the Palestinian Authority West Bank.