Matan Kahana addresses the media.
Gulf Today Report
An Israeli member of the Parliament has come under fire for his inflammatory remarks about the Palestinians.
The Deputy Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana was caught on video saying that if he could push a button to wipe out all Palestinians, he would do it.
Kahana made the remarks to high school students in a West Bank settlement.
Kahana explained his view that the conflicting narratives between Israelis and Palestinians were a major obstacle to peace.
He seemed to emphasise that Israelis and Palestinians had no choice but to find a way to live together.
The footage shows Kahana saying, “If there was a sort of button you could push that would make all the Arabs disappear, send them on an express train to Switzerland.
“I would press that button. But what can you do? There is no such button,” he added.
The video was brought to light by Israeli local media Kan.
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Kahana also said, ”Therefore it seems we were meant to exist (together) on this land in some way.”
Kahana is part of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s nationalist Yamina party, which backs a coalition of eight ideologically diverse parties.
The threat of forced displacement is a sensitive issue for the Palestinians, and the 1948 war led to the creation of Israel. Palestinians fled or were forced to abandon their homes.
A second uprooting took place during the Middle East war of 1967.
Kahana’s remarks were condemned by Palestinian Israeli lawmakers and members of his own coalition.
Opposition MK Ahmad Tibi tweeted in response that he would remove Kahana from the government.
Kahana later said on Twitter that some of the remarks in his speech were “poorly worded.”
“I referenced that both Jewish and Arab populations aren’t going anywhere. As such, we must work to live in coexistence. Our coalition is a courageous step towards this goal.”