TEL AVIV: An Israeli deputy minister was under fire on Thursday for calling residents of an unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost “subhuman,” sparking an outcry that underscored the fragility of Israel’s ideologically diverse coalition.
Yair Golan, a former deputy military chief and a member of the dovish Meretz party, has previously prompted a backlash for comments appearing to liken the atmosphere in Israel to that of Nazi-era Germany.
“These are not people, these are subhumans. Despicable people and the corruption of the Jewish people. They must not be given any backing,” Golan told the Knesset Channel. “This radical nationalist rampage will bring a catastrophe upon us.”
Golan, who serves as deputy economy minister, was referring to settlers from an illegal outpost in the West Bank, which was evacuated as part of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip but where settlers have repeatedly rebuilt structures.
The settlers and their supporters have also clashed with Palestinians from nearby villages. Golan said he was referring to settlers suspected of having defaced a nearby Muslim cemetery, which he likened to a “pogrom.”
Separately, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian who had opened fire on them during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus early on Thursday, the Israeli military said.
The military said it was carrying out an operation to arrest a suspect when armed men began firing on the troops. It said forces killed one of the gunmen. No soldiers were wounded and the suspect was arrested, the military said.
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, identified the man as Bakir Muhammad Musa Hashash, 21, saying he was critically wounded and later died.
Last month, a Palestinian opened fire on a car filled with Jewish seminary students next to a West Bank settlement outpost. At the same time, settler violence against Palestinians has risen, particularly in the northern West Bank.