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Arab MK to UN: Ben-Gvir's power over Israel force in West Bank causes 'deep crisis'

Head of the Joint List, a combined slate of Arab parties Ayman Odeh speaks during his election campaign in Tel Aviv, Israel on February 18, 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Knesset member Ayman Odeh in Tel Aviv on 18 February 2020 [Mostafa Alkharou/Anadolu Agency]

Joint List Member of the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, expressed grave concerns about a "deep crisis" which requires "international intervention" now that far-right Member of the Israeli Knesset Itamar Ben-Gvir is due to take over control of the West Bank Border Police as Minister of National Security.

During a meeting with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Friday, Odeh described the growing fear amongst the Palestinian citizens in Israel after the far-right MK "was given a high level of control over state armed forces, including the police and border patrol."

"It is difficult to overstate the terror this has already caused among [Israel's] Arab Palestinian citizens," Odeh said.

Itamar Ben-Gvir is set to be the incoming Israeli minister of national security in what is being described as the most extreme far-right government in the occupation state's history. He is reported by Haaretz as planning on transferring a considerable number of Border Police from the West Bank to the Negev to "strengthen governance in the south".

In a letter he presented to Guterres during the meeting, Odeh wrote that Ben-Gvir "has defended and glorified Jewish terrorists who have murdered Arab Palestinians and called for Arabs to be forcibly transferred from the state."

Ben-Gvir is seeking a prominent spot within Netanyahu's next coalition - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Ben-Gvir is seeking a prominent spot within Netanyahu's next coalition – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Odeh also emphasised the urgent need to tackle the wave of violent crimes that has been drastically increasing in the Palestinian communities across Israel.

So far this year, 97 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been murdered. According to a Haaretz count conducted earlier this month, there has been a decrease in the homicide rate in the Arab Israeli community so far this year.

Arab Israeli citizens face systematic discrimination and complain of being treated as second-class citizens when compared with their Jewish counterparts. They make up around 20 per cent of Israel's population and are centred in a group of Arab towns in central Israel known as the "Little Triangle", as well as the Galilee and Negev regions.

Numerous human rights groups decry Israeli policies against Arabs as a form of modern-day apartheid. They suffer from racial discrimination in education, work and healthcare.

READ: Israel with 71% of votes counted, Netanyahu looks set for election victory

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