U.S. mulls barring entry to Smotrich over call to ‘wipe out’ Palestinian village

The Finance Minister said his remarks were a “slip of the tongue” made in “a storm of emotions.”

By World Israel News Staff

The Biden administration is in discussions about whether to issue Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich a visa ahead of his planned visit to the U.S. later this month, over his calls to “wipe out” a Palestinian village of Huwara, the site of a terror attack in which two brothers were killed this week.

A Channel 12 report said that his entry to the U.S., to speak at an annual Israel Bonds conference in Washington, may be denied. Smotrich told the news channel that he had misspoken and that his words should not have been taken literally. He also said they were a “slip of the tongue” made in “a storm of emotions.”

Dozens of Jewish rioters demanding firm action against terrorism torched Palestinian property in the village of Huwara on Sunday evening as an act of revenge for the death of the brothers, Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, who were killed earlier in the day in a terrorist shooting attack. The terrorist is still at large.

Asked at a conference why he had “liked” a tweet by Samaria Regional Council deputy mayor Davidi Ben Zion that called “to wipe out the village of Huwara today,” Smotrich answered: “Because I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the State of Israel should do it.”

He condemned the riots, saying “we shouldn’t be dragged into anarchy in which civilians take the law into their own hands.”

He later claimed the media was creating a “distorted interpretation” of his comments. Huwara is a “hostile village,” Smotrich claimed, where residents throw rocks and shoot at Israelis every day and that he was not against the IDF issuing a “response” against all acts of terrorism.

Later in the day he said: “So there isn’t any doubt, I did not mean wipe out the village of Huwara, rather act in a targeted manner against the terrorists and supporters of terrorism living there and to exact a heavy price from them in order to restore security to the [Jewish] residents of the area.”

On Saturday night, Smotrich said his “word choice was wrong, but the intention was very clear.”

“It was a slip of the tongue in a storm of emotions,” he told Channel 12, and it “goes without saying that I did not intend to call for violence of any kind.”

He also refused to call the rampage an act of terror, deemed as such by the IDF.

It was “a very serious nationalist crime, but not terror,” he said, and added that Huwara was a “village that is brimful of terror.”

Smotrich’s remarks prompted a condemnation by the U.S. State Department, with spokesperson Ned Price telling reporters on Thursday that they “were irresponsible. They were repugnant. They were disgusting.”

One-hundred and twenty American Jewish leaders on Friday called for the Religious Zionism party head to be denied entry to the U.S., saying he “should not be given a platform in our community.”

The post U.S. mulls barring entry to Smotrich over call to ‘wipe out’ Palestinian village appeared first on World Israel News.

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