Ben-Gvir’s ‘militia’ will sabotage de-escalation efforts, Palestinian foreign ministry warns

Ahram Online , Wednesday 29 Mar 2023

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry expressed concern over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent agreement with far-right extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to form a "militia," which could be used against Palestinian citizens.

Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel s new minister of national security and leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudi
Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel s new minister of national security and leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, greets supporters during a visit to Jerusalem s Mahane Yehuda market on Dec. 30, 2022. AFP


"The agreement between Netanyahu and the fascist Israeli National Security minister to form a "militia" under the name of the National Guard, raises many concerns over the role Ben-Gvir intends to grant these forces against Palestinian citizens and their resilience and rights in their homeland," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry warned that the move could lead to further oppression of the Palestinian people, given Ben-Gvir’s history of fascism and terrorism.

The ministry cautioned that unleashing the National Guard against Palestinians would escalate the conflict and sabotage any efforts to achieve calm in the region, adding that the decision is part of ongoing attempts by Netanyahu to resolve his ruling coalition crisis at the expense of the Palestinian people.

This follows a series of "colonial decisions made by the settler colonial government, including the legalisation of many random outposts and the rescinding of the so-called disengagement law that allows settlers to return to settlements in the northern West Bank," the statement added.

Meanwhile, dozens of Israeli settlers broke into the al-Aqsa mosque Wednesday morning under heavy protection from the Israeli police, according to the Palestinian "WAFA" news agency.

Groups of settlers stormed the mosque and took provocative tours of its compounds. The extremist settlers performed rituals in the eastern part of the building.

This comes at a time when Israeli forces intensify measures against Palestinians coming to Jerusalem to enter the mosque, such as inspecting their IDs and briefly detaining them.

The al-Aqsa compound is administered by Jordan's Waqf, while Israel controls access to the holy site under the pretense of providing security.

Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.

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