Israel’s far-right Police Minister Itamar Ben-Ghir has sparked outrage with a statement about the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. “We strongly condemn Minister Ben-Gvir’s outrageous statements,” a US State Department spokesperson told several Israeli media outlets today.
Ben-Givir previously said in a television interview: “My right to move in Judea and Samaria (West Bank, n.d.), my wife’s right and my children’s right are more important than the freedom of movement of Arabs.” Arab-Israeli journalist Mohammed Magadli told the room, “I’m sorry Mohammed but it’s true, my right to life takes precedence over your right to free movement.”
Ben-Gvir lives with his family in an Israeli settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron. His statements were prompted by calls for stricter restrictions on Palestinians after several deadly attacks on Israelis in the West Bank. Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government called for even stricter road restrictions.
“We condemn all racist rhetoric,” the Times of Israel quoted the US State Department as saying. Israelis and Palestinians deserve “the same level of freedom and security.” Ben-Qir’s statement also drew criticism from human rights activists. The Israeli organization Betselem said: “This is the reality we have been observing for five decades. The rights of Jews are more important than the rights of Arabs, and that is what apartheid looks like.” Dozens demonstrated in front of Ben-Gvir’s home in the settlement of Kiryat Arba.