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Netanyahu describes Arab neighbours as 'wild beasts'

The prime minister's comment has been widely criticised [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2016

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But the Israeli prime minister's rhetoric is only the most recent in a long line of dehumanising statements.

Binyamin Netanyahu has announced plans to encircle Israel with a "barrier" in a bid to guard the state from neighbouring citizens, which he described as "wild beasts".

The Israeli prime minister made the remark - which has also been translated as "predators" - during a tour of a newly built "security fence" on the Jordanian border.

"In the end in Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence like this that surrounds the whole country," he said.

"I'll be told, 'this is what you want, to protect the villa?' The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes," he said.

"In the environment we live in, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts."

Netanyahu's controversial comments follow a similar pattern of rhetoric from his colleagues.

Former PM Ehud Barak once described Palestinians as "crocodiles".

"The more you give them meat, the more they want," he said.

Israel's Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, was headline news when she said Palestinian mothers raised "little snakes". She went on to describe Palestinian mothers as "enemy combatants" and said "mothers of martyrs" should "follow their sons".

"Nothing would be more just," she added. "They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there."

Although Netanyahu suggested the plan would cost "many billions" he added it was necessary "to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be".
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