Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Macron makes Time 100 as France revolts

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's rush to the polls: Erdogan calls snap election to cement his power

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France's Macron likens divisions within EU to 'civil war'

Read more

ENCORE!

Sting and Shaggy on making musical magic together

Read more

FOCUS

The citizens finding solutions to Lebanon's chronic waste crisis

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Head of UN entity probing war crimes in Syria speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

The future of work: How the gig economy is changing the jobs market

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'France has underinvested in early childhood education for many years'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Badass': Accolades pour in for Southwest pilot who landed plane after engine failure

Read more

Middle east

US condemns Israeli politician-rabbi's call for Abbas to 'vanish'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-30

The United States on Sunday condemned remarks by the rabbi head of a religious party in Israel's ruling coalition who said he wished Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would "vanish". A US statement said that the remarks hurt "the cause of peace".

AFP - The United States on Sunday condemned as "deeply offensive" remarks by an influential Israeli rabbi who said he hoped Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas would "vanish from our world."

"We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.

"These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace."

Ovadia, who heads a religious party in Israel's ruling coalition, expressed hope in his weekly sermon Saturday that "all the nasty people who hate Israel, like Abu Mazen (Abbas), vanish from our world."

"May God strike them down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel," he said.

Crowley pointed out that the remarks did not reflect the view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due in Washington this week for direct peace talks with Abbas.

The talks will be the first face-to-face discussions since December 2008, when the Palestinians broke off negotiations over a deadly Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat condemned the remarks as "an incitement to genocide," and urged the Israeli government "to do more about peace and stop spreading hatred."

Netanyahu's office dismissed the comments in a statement that said the government wants peace with the Palestinians.

Yosef's comments "do not reflect the views of Benjamin Netanyahu or of his government" which seeks a peace settlement with the Palestinians, it said.

According to Shas MP Nissim Zeev, whose party has 11 seats in the 120-member parliament, Yosef was trying to express the wish taken from Jewish holy texts that God would eliminate the enemies of Israel to clear the way for peace.

In the past, Shas's powerful mentor, a Baghdad-born rabbi now in his late 80s, has referred to Arabs and Palestinians as "snakes" and "vipers" who were "swarming like ants."

He has made similar remarks about non-observant Jews, including former prime minister Ariel Sharon, whom he called "cruel" and "evil" for his plan to evict settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

In the late 1980s, however, Yosef came out in support of a territorial compromise with the Palestinians.

Date created : 2010-08-30

  • ISRAEL

    Netanyahu spells out conditions for peace deal

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    IDF soldier’s prisoner photos are the ‘tip of the iceberg’

    Read more

  • LEBANON

    Parliament passes law giving Palestinians right to work

    Read more

COMMENT(S)