Ex-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard joins far-right call for Hawara destruction

Ex-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard joins far-right call for Hawara destruction
Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard joined extremists such as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and far-right parliamentarian Zvika Fogel in calling for the Palestinian town of Hawara to be destroyed.
2 min read
06 March, 2023
Pollard spent 30 years in a US prison for spying for Israel [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard said that Israel should destroy the Palestinian town of Hawara, joining a growing chorus of Israeli extremists calling for its elimination following a settler rampage there last week.

"It's up to the government right now to reestablish credibility, not only with our own people, but with our enemies as well, and that means unfortunately for some that Hawara must be destroyed," Pollard, who spent 30 years in prison for spying for Israel while working as a US Navy analyst, told Israeli news service Kan.

Pollard sold American state secrets to Israel before being arrested by US authorities in 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment  The US rejected numerous Israeli appeals for his release throughout his imprisonment, before finally granting him parole in 2015. He moved to Israel in 2020 when his parole restrictions ended.

"Our enemies only understand decisive retaliation... the destruction of Hawara will mark the beginning of our reconquest of our land," Pollard added. 

Hawara is in the West Bank, Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

Last week Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the town to be "wiped out", before appearing to retract his statement

His comment were slammed as "repugnant" and "disgusting" by the US State Department.

Prior to that, far-right Israeli lawmaker Zvika Fogel called for Hawara to be "burned and closed" and appeared to approve a settler rampage through the occupied West Bank town on 26 February, setting cars and homes on fire and killing one Palestinian. 

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The pogrom followed the killing of two Israeli settlers, which was preceded a few days before by an earlier Israeli massacre in the city of Nablus, where soldiers killed at least 11 Palestinians.

Israel has launched near-daily raids in the West Bank since March 2022, killing at least 65 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023. The violence this year has been described as the "bloodiest" in recent Palestinian memory.