KUWAIT: Kuwait's ministry of foreign affairs condemned in strong terms a Zionist minister's racist call for "wiping out" Huwara village in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. "Such irresponsible and provocative remarks contravene all international laws and norms and constitute a blatant breach of international humanitarian law," the ministry said in a press release on Friday.

Kuwait reminds the international community of their responsibility for putting an end to Zionist campaigns of incitement against the brotherly people of Palestine and providing full protection against the Zionist entity's escalating malpractices. Kuwait supports all international efforts aiming to reach a fair, permanent and comprehensive solution based on relevant UN resolutions, the Arab initiative for peace and the two-state vision, the statement stressed.

It reaffirmed Kuwait's support to the Palestinian people until they attain their legitimate political rights, including the right to establish an independent state within the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Zionist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich made his comments on Wednesday. "I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out," Smotrich said. "I think (the Zionist entity) should do it." UN rights chief Volker Turk, speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday, denounced Smotrich's comments as "an unfathomable statement of incitement to violence and hostility".

HUWARA: Zionist security forces block Palestinian and peace activists protesting at the entrance of this town in the occupied West Bank on March 3, 2023. - AFP

Washington, a staunch ally of the Zionist entity, was even more blunt in its response to Smotrich's comments. "They were irresponsible, they were repugnant, they were disgusting," US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. A French foreign ministry statement also condemned the comments as "unacceptable, irresponsible and unworthy coming from a member of the (Zionist) government". "These comments only fuel hatred and fuel the spiral of current violence," the statement added, appealing for calm.

The Saudi foreign ministry expressed its "complete rejection of such racist and irresponsible statements, which reflect the massive violence and extremism the (Zionist) occupation entity is exercising against the brotherly Palestinians". Qatar described Smotrich's comments as "hateful and provocative" and said it considered them "a serious incitement to a war crime".

An attack on Huwara last Sunday saw hundreds of settlers set homes and cars ablaze and hurl stones, while a Palestinian man was killed in the nearby village of Zaatara. More than 350 Palestinians were injured, most suffering from tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.

Presenting his office's latest report on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, Turk warned the council Friday that the "increasing violence is condemning innocent people on all sides to further tragedy". He called on "decision-makers and people on all sides... to step back from the precipice to which increasing extremism and violence have led".

The upsurge in violence comes after last year saw the highest number of Palestinians killed by Zionist security forces in 17 years, Turk pointed out. "I condemn the violence that has killed and harmed so many people on both sides, and which generates overwhelming despair," he said. Many country representatives echoed Turk's concerns Friday, while Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi took the rights council floor to urge the international community to take "punitive steps" against the Zionist entity.

Kuwait's Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Nasser Abdullah Al-Hayen also welcomed the report, stressing the need of accountability for all acts of unlawful violence and human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories. Addressing the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on the state of human rights in Palestine on Friday, Hayen denounced the flagrant violations being committed by the Zionist against defenseless Palestinians. On behalf of Kuwait, he urged the international community to ensure respect for the principles and rules of the international laws on the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

The High Commissioner's report shows a clear and constant deterioration of the state of human rights in the Palestinian territories as well as a surge in violence and hostile acts in the northern part of the West Bank, Hayen pointed out. He cited as example the increasing use of live ammunition by Zionist security forces and Zionist settlers against defenseless Palestinian civilians. He commended the report for holding the Zionist entity accountable for the new spate of serious and systematic abuses, disproportionate use of lethal force and extrajudicial executions.

The Zionist entity's persistence in using unjustifiable lethal force against civilians is tantamount to a war crime, Hayen stressed. Kuwait and the international community are profoundly worried about the persistence of the atmosphere of evasion of punishment, and underscore the need of accountability for all reports of disproportionate use of lethal force.

Kuwait supports the call of the High Commissioner for the Zionist entity, the occupying power, to fulfil its obligations under international law, Hayen added. He reaffirmed Kuwait's support to the Palestinian people until they reach their aspirations for ending the Zionist occupation and establishing an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in keeping with the UN resolutions, the Arab initiative for peace and the two-state vision. - Agencies