Palestinians have criticised an Israeli legislator who said he would “execute” a Palestinian assailant’s family as revenge for an operation that killed three Israelis in an occupied West Bank settlement.
In a video posted (Hebrew) over the weekend on his official Facebook account, which has more than 82,000 likes, Israeli Knesset Member MK Oren Hazan said he would demolish the home of Palestinian assailant Omar al-Abed and “execute” his family.
Mustafa Barghouti, the former Palestinian information minister and general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative political party, said Hazan’s comments expose “how deeply ingrained racism” has become in Israel through “its system of apartheid and occupation”.
“It’s very dangerous,” he told Al Jazeera by telephone, “and these types of comments are overlooked by many parties in the international community.”
Hazan said in the video: “I want to be honest without sounding too extreme, god forbid, but if it was up to me I would’ve gone to the terrorist’s house yesterday, grabbed him and his whole family and executed them all together.”
He went on to say that “an execution is the lightest sentence” that Abed could receive.
Abed, 20, hopped over the fence of Halamish, a Jewish-only settlement in the central West Bank, and stabbed three Israelis to death last week as tensions soared over Israel’s crackdown on entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Hazan complained that Abed, who Israeli forces shot, has been hospitalised in an Israeli facility, adding: “Let him [Abed] die, let him wallow in his own blood. They don’t have a right to live, they don’t have the right to even exist, and I hope that everyone will say that with me.”
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He is a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army arrested Ibtisam al-Abed, the assailant’s mother, for saying she was “proud” of her son in a video shared widely on social media outlets.
She had also told the Israeli daily Haaretz that she did not support the attack.
At the time of publication, Hazan had not replied to Al Jazeera’s request for a comment.
Barghouti said: “This shows the level of incitement on the Israeli side, while they accuse Palestinians of incitement. It’s not the first time: We’re talking about racism in every political speech and every television broadcast.”
Hazan has been reprimanded in the past for violent rhetoric, including a recent threat to Palestinian MK Aida Touma-Sliman and other similar comments. “We will erase your smile from your face … We will erase your ugly smile from your face,” he reportedly told her recently at a Knesset function.
On Tuesday, the Knesset’s Ethics Committee voted to reprimand Hazan for those comments. It is unclear what that punishment will entail.
The far-right legislator also sparked controversy when he pledged his support for France’s populist politician Marine Le Pen earlier this year, prompting criticism from Israelis and French Jewish legislators.
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“[US President Donald] Trump said the United States belongs to the Americans, and so Le Pen also says that France belongs to the French,” Hazan said on an Israeli radio show at the time.
“This is the way to stop radical Islam, and to stop France from becoming a Palestinian state in Europe, and that is why I support it.”
Amjad Iraqi, international advocacy coordinator at the Haifa-based Adalah Legal Center, said that there is “no accountability for Israeli public officials” who engage in incitement against Palestinians.
“The statements by Hazan and others are part of this context and double standard about what’s interpreted as incitement and what constitutes free speech,” he said, referring to Israel’s frequent arrests of Palestinian activists for social media posts.
“It essentially legitimises racist attitudes towards Palestinians,” he said. “It goes hand in hand with state policies to repress Palestinian efforts to achieve their human rights.”
On Saturday, Israel’s regional cooperation minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, warned Palestinians of a “new Nakba”, referring to the 1948 establishment of Israel and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland, as reported by the 972 blog at the time.
“You’ve already paid that crazy price twice for your leaders,” he wrote on Facebook, alluding to the 1948 and 1967 Middle East wars. “Don’t try us again because the result won’t be any different.”
Back in March 2015, Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli defence minister and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, said Palestinian citizens of Israel who oppose the country should be “beheaded” for their disloyalty.
In July 2014, at the outset of Israel’s 51-day military offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked approvingly republished on Facebook an article by Israeli speech writer and Netanyahu confidant Uri Elitzur labelling “the entire Palestinian people” as “the enemy”.
Shaked later became Israel’s justice minister, a post she holds until today.
The article called for Palestinian mothers to be killed because they give birth to “little snakes”.
“This is an article by the late Uri Elitzur, which was written 12 years ago, but remained unpublished. It is as relevant today as it was at the time,” Shaked wrote in the Facebook post, which she later deleted.
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Nadia Hijab, executive director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, described what she called an uptick in incitement as “pretty typical”, arguing that the “collective punishment” proposed by Hazan and others violates the Geneva Convention.
“In retaliation to attacks, the homes of family members are demolished and entire families made homeless, villages are put under curfew and blockaded, and [their] family members are arrested,” she told Al Jazeera.
“Hazan is taking collective punishment to the next level.”
On Monday, Israel decided to remove metal detectors it had placed at the entrance of Jerusalem’s Old City to restrict entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque as protests intensified in the city.
Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian legislator in the Israeli Knesset, accused Israel of an “unprecedented level of incitement” and attempting to divert the blame to Palestinians who have demonstrated against the measures.
“They lit the fires, and now they want to say that we’re responsible for it,” he told Al Jazeera by telephone. “But it will never be quiet as long as the occupation continues.”
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Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, accused the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of promoting violence on Monday.
“The [Security] Council must demand real action by [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas, make him stop his tacit support for terror, force him to end this unbearable wave of violence and make him do so immediately before the lives of more innocent victims are lost,” he said.
Palestinians have been protesting Israeli measures to limit entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Israel, amid a sharp uptick in violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
On Wednesday, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, urged the Security Council to take action to protect Palestinians and their holy sites from Israel’s “reckless and destructive agenda”.
Follow Patrick Strickland on Twitter: @P_Strickland_