Creating new perspectives since 2009

No chance for Saudi-Israel normalisation while Ben-Gvir in office, official says

January 6, 2023 at 10:48 am

Israeli far-right lawmaker and leader of the Otzma Yehudit party Itamar Ben-Gvir (R), accompanied by his wife Ayala. [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

A senior Israeli official has criticised the extremist Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning, saying it had “destroyed the opportunity for normalising relations with Saudi Arabia”, Haaretz newspaper reported.

The paper quoted the unnamed Israeli official as saying “there is no opportunity to develop relations with Saudi Arabia as long as Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are in the government coalition.”

Bezalel Smotrich, who supports abolishing the Palestinian Authority and annexing the West Bank, is Israel’s new finance minister.

The paper added that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk about activating normalisation with Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, using the influence of the United States and European powers, is “detached from the reality indicated by Ben-Gvir’s storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

Haaretz indicated that “a few minutes of Ben-Gvir’s wanderings in Al-Aqsa were enough for the international community to make it clear to the Netanyahu government that it would not be patient with the whims of his new government.”

It explained that Arab, Islamic and international reactions have also sent a clear and unified message to Netanyahu.

According to the paper, Ben Gvir’s incident has greatly contributed to returning the Palestinian cause to international attention, without a single violent incident being recorded.

On Tuesday morning, Ben-Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque without prior announcement and under heavy armed police protection. The site is a Muslim holy site under the custodianship of Jordan.

READ: Netanyahu postpones UAE visit after Ben-Gvir’s desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque