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Israeli Deputy Speaker Nissim Vaturi Sparks Outrage With Disturbing Call

Israeli Deputy Speaker Nissim Vaturi faces backlash for advocating a more brutal approach to the war on Gaza.

People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in airstrikes on November 19, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza.

Nissim Vaturi, the far-right deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament, raised eyebrows and ire Friday after asserting on social media that Israel’s war on Gaza — which has killed and maimed over 40,000 people and displaced around 70% of the population — is “too humane.”

“All of this preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing,” Vaturi, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, wrote Friday after the country’s war Cabinet approved extremely limited fuel deliveries into the besieged strip. “We are too humane. Burn Gaza now, no less!”

“Don’t allow fuel in, don’t allow water in until the hostages are returned back!” Vaturi added, a reference to the approximately 240 Israelis and others kidnapped by Hamas-led militants during the October 7 infiltration attack that killed around 1,200 people in southern Israel.

When Israeli journalist Ben Caspit responded to the post with a comment that he feared Vaturi’s words could fuel “anti-Israel propaganda,” the lawmaker shot back: “Your fear will kill us. Stop being humane.”

The social media platform X — whose multibillionaire owner Elon Musk is in hot water for promoting an anti-semitic post — deleted Vaturi’s tweet, and others including one in which he wrote that Israel should leave just “one old man” alive in Gaza so he could “tell everyone” what happened there.

Vaturi recently pushed for the suspension of colleague Aida Touma-Suleiman, a member of the leftist Hadash party, for comments critical of the Israeli military’s conduct in Gaza and for calling for the protection of civilians on both sides, including by saying that “a child is a child,” whether Israeli or Palestinian.

Over 5,000 Palestinian children are among the more than 12,300 people killed during Israel’s 43-day bombardment and invasion of Gaza, which has also maimed at least 30,000 others, according to Gazan health officials. Half the homes in the embattled strip have been damaged or destroyed, with around 1.7 million Palestinians forcibly displaced. Thousands of people are missing and feared buried beneath rubble. In the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers since October 7, while over 2,800 others have been arrested.

Vaturi is far from alone in making what legal experts call statements of genocidal intent.

Earlier this month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog asserted that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza, while Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to “eliminate everything” there.

Galit Distel Atbaryan, a member of the Knesset from Netanyahu’s Likud Party, said that “Gaza should be wiped off the map.”

Ariel Kallner, another Likud parliamentarian, urged a “Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of ’48,” a reference to the forced expulsion and ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Arabs from Palestine during the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1947-49.

Yet another Likud lawmaker, Tally Gotliv, demanded nothing less than a “doomsday kiss”—that is, use of Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons. “Not flattening a neighborhood,” she clarified, but “crushing and flattening Gaza. Without mercy!”

Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, who said “we are now rolling out the Great Nakba,” was admonished by Netanyahu for saying the quiet part out loud.

Netanyahu said it out loud last month during a televised address when he called Israel’s imminent ground invasion of Gaza a “holy mission” and invoked Amalek, the ancient biblical enemy of the Israelites whom God commanded his “chosen people” to exterminate, in what critics called “an explicit call to genocide.”

Noting that statements of intent to commit genocide are a key element of the crime, Israeli Holocaust scholar Raz Segal told Democracy Now! in an interview last month that “if this is not special intent to commit genocide, I really don’t know what is.”

“We’re seeing the combination of genocidal acts with special intent,” he added. “This is indeed a textbook case of genocide.”

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