LONDON: Benjamin Netanyahu’s son has called for British diplomats to be kicked out of Israel ahead of a visit to Palestine by the Prince of Wales.
Yair Netanyahu, who has a history of making inflammatory comments, made the call after UK consulate staff in Jerusalem referred to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” in a tweet announcing the royal visit.
“God willing you guys will be kicked out of Israel soon,” the son of the Israeli prime minister wrote in response on Friday. “Until then I'm thinking of visiting the occupied lands of Scotland or Wales, which do you recommend?”
The Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem have been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The UN and most countries officially refer to these areas as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Palestinians want them to be the basis of a future state, but Israel’s rampant building of Jewish settlements, particularly in the West Bank, has increasingly made such a resolution to the conflict unlikely.
The British Consulate in Jerusalem, which represents the UK government in the disputed city along with the West Bank and Gaza, announced on Dec. 18 that Prince Charles would visit the Palestinian territories next month. He will also visit Israel and attend the World Holocaust Forum.
Netanyahu tried to justify his position by accusing the consulate of pretending “to be the embassy to the non existing country of ‘Palestine’.”
He added that Northern Ireland is recognized globally as part of Britain and that nobody is claiming “British settlers” there should be kicked out.
His statements were met with a stream of responses pointing out that citizens in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are afforded the full rights of British citizens, unlike Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
One person, who said they lived in Scotland, wrote: “No sign over here of military checkpoints, curfews, apartheid walls, settler colonies and roads, land and water theft, house demolitions, crop destruction.”
Netanyahu has repeatedly sparked anger with his use of social media to attack Palestinians. Last year, he posted on Facebook that he would prefer it if “all Muslims leave the land of Israel.” The post was removed and he was banned from the site for 24 hours.
He also called for the deaths of two Israeli soldiers killed in the West Bank to be “avenged.” In January 2018, an audio recording emerged in which he boasted about soliciting prostitutes and made disparaging comments about women.
His latest comments come as his father clings to power ahead of Israel’s third election in 12 months.
Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust but refused to stand down, instead claiming he is the victim of a witch-hunt.