Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under attack on Twitter after activists accused the PM of being “genocidal” following his announcement to build a fence around Israel to protect the nation from “wild beasts”.
The Israeli leader used the provocative and dehumanizing language on an official tour of Israel’s eastern border, where a security fence is currently being erected.
“Will we surround all of the state of Israel with fences and barriers?
The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu wants to put Jews in giant, fenced, ghetto https://t.co/rbBxZNzdgE
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) February 9, 2016
The Israeli leader also referred to Tel Aviv’s neighbors as “predators.” At an estimated cost of US$74.4 million, the new 30-kilometer barrier is being built at the same time as a new airport undergoes construction in the Timna Valley.
The man running Israel is explicitly calling Arabs “wild beasts.” That’s genocidal language, unconditionally bankrolled by the US taxpayer.
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) February 10, 2016
However, the new security barrier is merely the tip of the iceberg for Israel, a country which spends approximately 5.2 percent of its annual GDP on military expenditure.
“This thing costs many billions, and we’re working on a multiyear plan of prioritization so it would be spread out over years in order to gradually build it, but to complete it to defend the state of Israel,” Netanyahu added.
Twitter activists blasted Netanyahu’s comments, with Associate Editor of the Electronic Intifada labeling his comments “genocidal.”
Meanwhile, Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, compared Netanyahu’s government policies to words from Hannah Arendt in 1948 when she warned that Israel will eventually “separate itself from from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people.”
Netanyahu 2016: We’ll Surround Israel With Fences ‘To Defend Ourselves Against Wild Beasts’
Hannah Arendt 1948: pic.twitter.com/bn9oF27Q5t
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) February 9, 2016
Netanyahu’s comments come on the same day as the U.S. Defense Department’s fiscal budget for 2017, which requests US$145.8 million in support of Tel Aviv, according to Pentagon sources.