With the events in Hawara last Sunday and Betzalel Smotrich’s apparent appeal to “wipe out” Hawara, the US’s chilly attitude toward key right-wing figures in the Israeli cabinet has assumed a new dimension.
The American administration in the US had already planned to disregard Smotrich’s visit before he made his statement blatantly.
The Israeli finance minister has no scheduled meetings in Washington. Despite this, US authorities were debating whether or not to grant Smotrich a visa in the wake of his declaration.
Over the weekend, Smotrich walked back some of his remarks, saying, “If they had played my entire remarks, you would have heard that I was talking about how Hawara is a hostile village that has transformed into 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 stated that I am in favor of the IDF and security forces responding disproportionately to any incident of terrorism. Every time a rock is thrown, local businesses are forced to close, a firebomb is dropped, a family of a terrorist is apprehended and deported, a terror nest is destroyed, and a heavy price is collected until the terrorists and those who support them understand that the blood of our children is not cheap and that terrorism is not profitable.
This is how to combat terrorism and, God forbid, stop the victims from becoming more numerous.
Smotrich clarified the situation, but American officials were uncommitted and even overtly hostile to Smotrich’s visit. Tom Nides, the ambassador of the United States to Israel, says, “He has a flight to Washington, and if I could, I would toss him off the plane.
The US Embassy in Israel initially declined to respond to the report but later denied Nides had said these things.