Israel PM Netanyahu coalition member calls for Hawara to be 'burned and closed'

Israel PM Netanyahu coalition member calls for Hawara to be 'burned and closed'
Zvika Fogel, a member of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, spoke approvingly of Sunday's settler violence against Palestinians as 'deterrence'.
3 min read
28 February, 2023
Israeli settlers burned dozens of homes and cars in the occupied West Bank on Sunday [Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

A senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition called for Hawara to be "burned and closed", whilst approving of a settler rampage in the same occupied West Bank village on Sunday.

"Yesterday a terrorist came from Huwara – Hawara is closed and burnt. That is what I want to see. Only thus can we obtain deterrence," said Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party in an interview with Radio Galey Israel.

"The act that the residents of Judea and Samaria (referring to the illegal settlers living in the occupied West Bank) carried out yesterday is the strongest deterrent that the State of Israel has had since Operation Defensive Shield. After a murder like yesterday, villages should burn when the IDF [Israeli military] does not act."

Operation Defensive Shield was the Israeli assault in the occupied West Bank during the Second Intifada in 2002 when nearly 500 Palestinians were killed.

He also said in an interview with Israeli Army Radio that he "looks favourably upon" the results of violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers, who, flanked by members of the Israeli army, had killed one Palestinian and set dozens of homes and vehicles on fire in Hawara on Sunday.

Fogel said the violence - which was described as a 'pogrom' - acted as a 'deterrent'. 

"The effect of deterrence that was achieved yesterday following these so-called 'pogroms' hadn't been achieved in the West Bank since Operation Defensive Shield," he said, referring to the Israeli army’s actions during the Second Intifada in 2002 when several Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank were invaded and nearly 500 Palestinians killed. 

The extreme-right Otzma Yehudit party is led by Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir who has repeatedly encouraged settler violence against Palestinians and asserted that Israel should annex settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal under international law. 

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid criticised Fogel’s remarks, saying: "This is not a full right-wing government, this is a full-anarchist government. MK Fogel must go to jail for inciting terror."

Settlers rampaged through Hawara on Monday, starting fires and attacking Palestinian homes. At least one Palestinian was killed on Sunday and Monday, and more than 350 Palestinians were injured, most suffering from tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.

The settler violence came after two Israelis were shot dead by a Palestinian in the West Bank, just days after an Israeli massacre in Nablus, which left at least 11 Palestinians killed. 

Sixty-three Palestinians - more than one a day - have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year.