In a video message posted on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook account, he uses of the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe the Palestinian Authority’s aspirations to create its own state, a term which has been condemned by Washington.
Netanyahu states in his video that he has “always been perplexed by the notion” that the “Jewish community in Judea and Samaria [the Israeli name for the West Bank] is an obstacle for peace.”
He went on to imply that requesting the dismantling of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestine territory constitutes an “outrageous demand” equivalent to a call for “ethnic cleansing.”
Netanyahu just said that people who are against illegal settlements are fans of ethnic cleansing. For real. pic.twitter.com/qttsufL4bF
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 11, 2016
“The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews. There’s a phrase for that: it’s called ethnic cleansing,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.
He also stated that Israel, with its Arab community of two million people, on the contrary, provides an example of “openness and readiness for peace.”
Appealing to the intentional community, he urged all countries sharing Palestine’s view to cease “promoting this outrage.”
Netanyahu’s call, however, was condemned by Washington, which accused him of resorting to doublespeak, saying that the Israeli PM’s choice of words is “inappropriate and unhelpful.”
— Mondoweiss (@Mondoweiss) September 10, 2016
“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” US State Department spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau, said in a briefing on Friday.
Trudeau also stressed that the US will continue to adhere to the “strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace.”
She went on to accuse Israel of endangering the peace process by proceeding with its rampant settlement construction in the West Bank and carrying out a “dramatic escalation” in the demolition of Palestinian homes in the area.
Netanyahu's 'ethnic cleansing' video pushes Obama closer to UN Security Council – Israel News https://t.co/WtHz8nBQN4
— GStuedler (@GStuedler) September 11, 2016
She added that over 700 Palestinian structures have been leveled, leading to the eviction of over 1,000 people, adding that such actions “raise real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”