FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adina Marx | firstname.lastname@example.org | 929-290-0317
“If Biden fails to take action at this moment, the U.S. will be fully complicit in the violence that comes next”
Washington, D.C., March 2, 2023 – Just days after Israeli settlers carried out massive, orchestrated attacks on the Palestinian town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich doubled down on his support for the settler violence, calling for the entire town to be “wiped out.” In the face of undeniable incitement to genocide by a sitting Israeli government official, the Biden administration must take action to immediately withdraw unconditional U.S. military funding and support for the Israeli government, and refuse to allow Smotrich entry to the U.S. on his upcoming planned trip.
Last Sunday, in the worst settler attack in decades, hundreds of Israeli settlers rampaged through the Palestinian villages of Huwara, Zatara, and Burin, burning homes to the ground, lighting vehicles on fire, and injuring 350 Palestinians. At least one Palestinian, 37-year-old Sameh al-Aqtash, was killed, just days after returning from volunteering with relief efforts in Turkey. Sameh was the father of three children. During the attacks, the Israeli military prevented ambulances and medics from treating the injured and stopped journalists from entering the towns.
On the day of the attacks, Smotrich, along with several other Israeli government officials, publicly supported the settlers’ attacks. Days later, he reiterated and clarified his stance, saying “The village of Hawara needs to be wiped out. I think that the State of Israel needs to do that.”
Smotrich’s call for state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing of Palestinians comes just days after the Israeli government gave him sweeping powers over the civil administration of the occupied West Bank, including control over settlement planning.
During its first two months in office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right extremist coalition government is behaving exactly as promised: launching an escalated phase of state violence against Palestinians. In the first six weeks of 2023, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 65 Palestinians. Last year was already the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2004, and 2023 is now set to out-pace it.
Smotrich is scheduled to travel to the U.S. on March 12 to speak at the Israel Bonds conference. In the face of Smotrich’s unabashed call for genocide against Palestinians, the Biden administration must go further than hollow words of condemnation. The U.S. should immediately end its unconditional U.S. military funding and support for the Israeli government, and refuse to allow Smotrich entry to the U.S. on his upcoming planned trip.
“It is time for the Biden administration to end its hollow words of concern and condemnation and to start taking action. Bezalel Smotrich, an Israeli government official with sweeping power over the occupied West Bank, is publicly and unabashedly inciting genocide and supporting settler pogroms. If Biden fails to take action at this moment, the U.S. will be fully complicit in the violence that comes next.”— Beth Miller, Political Director of Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Beth Miller is available to speak with the media