PA will ask ICC to arrest 'racist terrorist' Smotrich after he denies Palestinians exist

PA will ask ICC to arrest 'racist terrorist' Smotrich after he denies Palestinians exist
The PA will call for Israeli Finance Minister Belazel Smotrich to be arrested after his racist comments.
2 min read
22 March, 2023
Smotrich's statements against Palestinians and Jordan were met with widespread condemnation [Getty]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) will call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest extremist Israeli Finance Minister Belazel Smotrich, following a "racist" outburst on Monday.

The far-right Israeli minister denied the existence of Palestinians during an inflammatory speech in Paris, standing at a lectern that included a map used by Jewish extremists, showing 'Greater Israel' covering the occupied West Bank and Jordan.

"We will request the ICC to immediately issue an arrest warrant against this racist terrorist who violated all rules by his statements," the PA foreign ministry said.

Smotrich's comments led to a chorus of international criticism, including from France where the speech took place.

"We call on persons who have been called to high office within the Israeli government to show the required dignity, to respect that of others, and to refrain from all action or declaration that could contribute to the escalation of tensions," the French foreign ministry said.

Jordan's parliament, angered by this remark and the 'Greater Israel' map, voted on Wednesday to expel the Israeli ambassador to Amman in protest.

The US also rebuked the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Herzog, for the Knesset's approval of a law that would overturn the 2005 evacuation of four West Bank settlements.

Earlier this month, Smotrich sparked worldwide condemnation after calling for Hawara to be "wiped out" after a horrific raid on the Palestinian village by Israeli settlers.

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On Tuesday the spokesperson of a far-right Israeli parliamentarian shared a video calling for Hawara to be erased, according to Haaretz.

"All the houses in the village should be destroyed. It's allowed, it's ethical, it's legitimate… That’s how the work’s done," the video says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a government in late 2022 including several controversial extreme-right figures.

Since then, the Israeli leader has been embroiled in a series of disputes over the comments and actions of his ministers and bogged down in a domestic battle with the opposition over his plans for an overhaul of the judiciary.