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US approves visa for Israel's Smotrich after backtracking 'wipe out' statement

The State Department confirmed that Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich will receive a diplomatic visa ahead of his visit to the United States next week.
Israelis stand next to a poster with the portraits of Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

News site Axios reported on Thursday evening that the United States has approved the request of far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich for a diplomatic visa ahead of his trip to Washington on Sunday.

The approval comes after Smotrich backtracked his statement last week calling to "wipe out" the Palestinian town of Huwara of nearly 7,000 residents. Following a week of outrage at his comments and worldwide condemnations, Smotrich published on his Facebook page a long post, retracting his statement on Wednesday.

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