After settlers’ rampage through a Palestinian town, according to Benny Gantz, “escalation is desirable” for right-wing minister Bezalel Smotrich.
The far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich, according to former Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, “wants another Nakba” and supports settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Gantz said on Army Radio that “Smotrich wants to start another Palestinian Nakba; for him, escalation is a desirable thing.”
The Nakba, which in Arabic means “the catastrophe,” is the term used to refer to the massacres and forcible expulsions of Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1948, as the new Israeli state was emerging.
Zionist gangs randomly killed unarmed civilians and buried some of them in mass graves, destroying entire Palestinian villages. 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes to live as refugees and an estimated 15,000 Palestinians were killed during the Nakba.
Israel‘s National Unity Party leader Gantz said he was “disturbed” by the support Israeli settlers have received for their rampage through a Palestinian town. He described them as a “militia with backing from some coalition figures.”
In a separate interview, Gantz told Radio 103, “This is a very dangerous slope, one that cannot be allowed to stand,” as quoted by The Times of Israel.
Following an earlier shooting that resulted in the deaths of two Israelis in the town of Huwara, hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian towns and villages near Nablus on Sunday under the protection of Israeli forces.
One Palestinian was killed in the assaults, nearly 400 were wounded, and dozens of homes and cars were set on fire or destroyed.
Several Israeli politicians appeared to support or encourage the settlers’ actions before and after the riots.
A tweet that stated that the “village of Huwara should be erased today” was liked by Smotrich, the finance minister who is also in charge of the civil administration of the occupied West Bank.
Settler groups shared the news on social media and made public their intention to carry out “revenge” in Huwara on Sunday.
Since 2016, the United Nations has documented a year-over-year increase in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
In direct contravention of international law, more than 250 settlements and outposts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are home to nearly 700,000 settlers.
According to UN data, there were at least 849 attacks by settlers on Palestinians in 2022, of which at least 228 resulted in deaths. In contrast, there were 358 attacks in 2020 and 496 in 2021.
In the meantime, Israeli forces continued their overnight nighttime raids in the occupied West Bank. Since Israel intensified them last year, they have become a regular occurrence for Palestinians in the occupied territories, escalating tensions.