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Israel: extremist demands will ‘ignite’ the region, says security official

November 7, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Itamar Ben-Gvir in Jerusalem on October 28, 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The leader of Israel’s extreme right-wing Otzma Yehudit party met with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu today as part of the negotiations to form the next coalition government. Right-wing parties won a simple majority of parliamentary seats in last week’s General Election.

According to Israel’s Channel 13, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was a candidate for the Knesset in alliance with the Religious Zionism party led by Bezalel Smotrich, will insist on being Minister of Internal Security, and will present several other demands, some of which are related to the security situation in the occupation state. The Israeli security services fear that if his demands are met, the situation on the ground will deteriorate.

Among the most prominent of Ben Gvir’s demands relates to the conditions under which Palestinian prisoners are held by Israel. An Israeli security source told the channel that the issue of prisoners is very sensitive for the Palestinians, and that such measures, if imposed, will be responded to by the West Bank and Gaza. He pointed out that there are other security demands that, if Netanyahu agrees to them, will have immediate and dire consequences on the ground.

“The Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque] and the issue of security prisoners,” he explained, “are among the most important and unanimous issues among all Palestinians. Any change to the status quo of either will ignite the region, and perhaps another round of fighting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Other security sources believe that if Ben-Gvir becomes Minister of Internal Security he will start to see things differently, as was the case with ministers before him, probably when he is briefed by security officials. The main responsibility will fall on Benjamin Netanyahu, who has experience in this field.

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