Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday he hoped the violent protests by Palestinians against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital were coming to an end and called for a boycott of the city of Umm el-Fahm after weekend protests there.
"Our hope is that everything is calming down and that we are returning to a path of normal life without riots and without violence," Liberman told Army Radio.
"I call for a boycott of [the city of] Umm el-Fahm, they should be made to feel unwanted here," he said, referencing a protest on Friday that drew several thousand people.
"I saw thousands of people at the funerals of terrorists in Umm el-Fahm," he continued. "I have heard them in the mosques and their sermons calling for alleged incitement and to be a part of Ramallah. I call on all citizens of the country: Stop going to their stores and buying from them. They need to feel like they are not wanted here and we should boycott them. I saw many flags of the Palestinian Authority but have never seen an Israeli flag there.
"Those people don't belong in Israel. They must be part of the Palestinian Authority, there they can get unemployment benefits and idleness benefits. They are part of Ramallah. They have no connection to the state of Israel and I call on the citizens of the state of Israel simply to boycott Wadi Ara. One shouldn't go into the stores or receive any services. These people work to harm the state of Israel, they work against the state of Israel from within our midst… these people have to understand they are not wanted here."
On Saturday evening, Route 65 South was blocked outside of Umm el-Fahm and three people were lightly injured after stones were hurled at a bus
Reports after the incident said the driver was wounded by glass shards and evacuated to the hospital and two passengers were lightly wounded and treated at the scene.
Protesters in the Wadi Ara region staged mass demonstrations on Friday against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the country's embassy to the city.
The Friday protest ended without incident.
Gilad Erdan (Likud), the Minister of Public Security, responded to Liberman's comments on Army radio, saying Israel cannot give up on all areas with Arab populations.
Erdan said the country needs more police enforcement within Arab communities to make them more in line with the rule of law and that the Saturday night protesters were extremists and not representative of the general Arab public.
Israeli-Arab MKs were quick to denounce Liberman's statement and spoke out against the reaction to Trump's announcement
over the weekend.
"Liberman is not missing any opportunity to continue his campaign of incitement and de-legitimization against the Arab public and the residents of Wadi Ara,
" said MK Yousef Jabareen
(Joint List). "The Arab citizens' protest against the Trump decision is a legitimate protest, and we have not heard the minister call for a boycott of Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) or Ethiopians when roads are blocked in the demonstrations they held. "
Likud MK Oren Hazan tweeted in response to Liberman: "You got the concept wrong."
Hazan went on to write that the solution [for terrorism] is "not in handing over lands but handing over people." Hazan claimed that if terrorists in Wadi Ara [in the Haifa district] commit violent acts on behalf of the 'Palestinian people' then their Israeli I.D. cards mean nothing to begin with and they should be dealt with as 'Palestinian' terrorists are meant to be dealt with."
Hazan placed "Palestinian" and "Palestinian people" in quotation marks to signify that he does not recognize the validity of such terms.
Speaking on Sunday on 103 FM radio, Hazan insisted, "the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel," and, "we will not hand over lands, only people."
Ben Lynfield, Arik Bender/Maa'riv, Hagay Hacohen and Reuters contributed to this report.