Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday weighed in on comments made this week by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who called for the Arab village of Huwara to be “wiped out”.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's strong condemnation of the extremist statements made by an Israeli occupation official by demanding an (erase) of the Palestinian village of Huwara,” said the statement, posted to the Twitter account of the Saud Foreign Ministry.
“The Ministry affirms the Kingdom's complete rejection of these racist and irresponsible statements, which reflect the amount of violence and extremism practiced by the occupying Israeli entity towards the brotherly Palestinian people, stressing its demand for the international community to assume its responsibilities to deter these shameful practices, stop escalation, and provide the necessary protection to civilians,” it added.
Smotrich’s comments came during a financial conference hosted by The Marker business daily. He was asked why he had liked “liked” a tweet by Samaria Regional Council deputy mayor Davidi Ben Zion calling “to wipe out the village of Huwara today.”
Smotrich replied, "Because I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the State of Israel should do it."
"God forbid, the job shouldn’t be done by private citizens," he added, condemning the riots by Jews in Huwara. "We shouldn’t be dragged into anarchy in which civilians take the law into their own hands."
He later published a clarification in which he said, "Once again the media is taking a quote of mine and trying to create a distorted interpretation of it. If they had played my entire remarks, you would have heard that I was talking about how Huwara is a hostile village that has become a terrorist outpost from which terrorist operations are launched every day, of rock throwing and shooting against Jews, but it is forbidden in any way to take the law into one's own hands."
"I said that I support a disproportionate response by the IDF and the security forces to every act of terrorism. For every rock - the closing of shops at the scene, for every firebomb - the arrests and deportation of the families of the terrorists, for every nest of terror - a closure and the collection of a painful price until the terrorists and their supporters realize that the blood of our children is not cheap and that terrorism is not profitable. This is the way to deal with terrorism and, God forbid, to prevent the next victims," said Smotrich.
Despite the clarification, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price called Smotrich's comments "irresponsible, repugnant. and disgusting."
On Thursday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, called Smotrich's comments “irresponsible” and “unacceptable.” The United Arab Emirates similarly condemned the comments.
Israel has for years been rumored to have behind-the-scenes ties with Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have vehemently denied those rumors.
Saudi officials have repeatedly said that a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital is a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel, and Prince Faisal’s comments on Thursday are in line with that.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)