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Israel: Pro-democracy protesters accuses Ben-Gvir of ‘incitement’ against them

August 3, 2023 at 9:44 am

Israeli Minister of National security Itamar Ben-Gvir [Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

The Israeli protest organisation, Kaplan Force, yesterday accused National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, of “inciting” the police to use violence against them, Anadolu news agency reported.

“Ben-Gvir wants to shed the protesters’ blood in the streets,” the Kaplan Force said, after Ben-Gvir described the anti-riot police forces as “heroes” following their use of violence to disperse protesters in Tel Aviv.

The movement, which is active in organising protests against the planned judicial overhaul, warned against “transforming Israel Police into an executive arm for a person convicted of terrorist crimes,” referring to Ben-Gvir, who in 2004 was convicted of supporting the Jewish Kach terrorist movement.

READ: Israel police unit chief questioned for abuse of pro-democracy protesters 

Earlier on Wednesday, the Police Investigation Department began interrogating the commander of Israel Police Special Patrol Unit (Yasam); Yair Hanoun and four other officers following complaints, supported by video clips, of them using violence against city protesters.

“You are our heroes and during my shift you will have support,” Ben-Gvir said, during a special meeting in Tel Aviv with Yasam members and leaders.

“I do not want there to be a misunderstanding. I do not support violence, but in the videos I watched, reasonable force was used, and Hanoun, who is still under investigation, acted with courage,” he added.

“You are doing the work for all of us, so that there is a balance between freedom of expression and freedom of movement, and the freedom of people to return to their homes,” Ben Gvir said, referring to the police evacuation of demonstrators from main roads.

Ben-Gvir considered the Police Investigation Department’s probe to be “very confusing and dangerous”, and called on the Yasam officers not to be deterred by it.

For 30 consecutive weeks Israel has been witnessing mass demonstrations in various cities against the judicial overhaul plan proposed by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.