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Israel: far-right ministers object to US sending armoured vehicles to PA

September 14, 2023 at 10:04 am

Israel’s Finance Minister and leader of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich attends a meeting at the parliament, Knesset, in Jerusalem [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Far-right Israeli ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday over reports about transferring “arms” to the Palestinian Authority, local media have reported. This was a reference to the US sending armoured vehicles, batons and tear gas canisters to the PA to use in its fight against the Palestinian resistance groups.

Smotrich and Ben-Gvir claimed that the transfer was made without their knowledge and accused Netanyahu of plotting to lay the foundations for an alternative government with National Unity party leader Benny Gantz. In the wake of their criticism, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Netanyahu himself denied that reports of an arms transfer were true. However, Netanyahu did concede that the armoured vehicles were delivered.

The finance minister “was unaware of such a move and was burning with anger,” said Smotrich’s office.

“Mr Prime Minister, if you do not state in your own voice that the reports about the transfer of arms to the terrorists [sic] of the Palestinian Authority are false, there will be consequences,” Smotrich is reported as saying. “If your intention is to try and build an Oslo II government, please inform your ministers and the public so that we can act accordingly.”

Israel: Netanyahu denies approving US arms delivery to Palestinian Authority