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Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir clash over prisoner restrictions

September 11, 2023 at 9:33 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (L) [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

At the end of an extended security consultation session on Sunday evening, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to postpone the issue of restrictions on Palestinian prisoners until a decision is made by the judicial advisor and the cabinet.

According to Safa, it was reported by Israeli Channel 13 that Netanyahu’s decision followed warnings by the heads of the various security agencies not to tighten restrictions on prisoners on the day after the Jewish holidays. The head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, Ronen Bar, warned that such a step would increase the escalation raging in the West Bank and the other fronts, and that it would be better for Netanyahu to visit the US without changing conditions for the prisoners.

“There is a lot of gasoline on the floor, we have to take the matches,” added Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. “Civilian lives are more important than changing the conditions of people who are already in prisons. The issue of prisoners should be discussed after the holidays because of that.”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant attacked National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s initiative to restrict visitation rights for prisoners. “It cannot be [right] that after a decision was reached on Thursday and it was agreed to hold a discussion about the prisoners, Ben-Gvir makes a decision on his own,” insisted Gallant.

Ben-Gvir responded with an attack on those who attended the meeting. “You all always bring up the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque Sanctuary], prisoners, and consolidating fronts. Every time it is forbidden to touch the prisoners because it can cause agitation, so their conditions must never be changed.”

Netanyahu ultimately decided to refer the issue to the government’s judicial advisor and the cabinet. His office pointed out that making such a decision is within his powers as prime minister, and the cabinet.

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