Far-right, Arab MKs clash during hospital visit to terror suspect

Footage shows altercation between Ayman Odeh and Itamar Ben Gvir devolving into physical confrontation at hospital treating hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner before staff break up scuffle; Religious Zionist party lawmaker says will press charges against Joint List chief

Meir Turgeman|
A scuffle broke out between MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the predominantly Arab Israeli Joint List party, and MK Itamar Ben Gvir of the far-right Religious Zionist Party while visiting a terror suspect who was being treated in a central Israel hospital on Tuesday.
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  • The confrontation took place at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot when Odeh went to offer his support to Miqdad Qawasmeh, a member of the Hamas terrorist group in the West Bank who is held without charge and has been on a hunger strike for nearly three months. Ben Gvir was said to have come to complain that Qawasmeh was being treated in an Israeli hospital.
    MKs Ayman Odeh and Itamar Ben Gvir clash at central Israel hospital
    (Video: Meir Turgeman)
    Qawasmeh has been detained in Israel for several months under the controversial legal procedure known as administrative detention, which allows suspects to be held without charge for renewable six-month periods.
    2 View gallery
    מקדאד קוואסמה העציר המנהלי שמאושפז בקפלן
    מקדאד קוואסמה העציר המנהלי שמאושפז בקפלן
    Hamas member and hunger-striking security prisoner Miqdad Qawasmeh with his mother by his hospital bed at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot
    (Photo: Meir Turgeman)
    The procedure is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, with the aim of preventing crimes in the meantime. It is mainly used against Palestinian suspects, but also more rarely against Jewish far-right extremists involved in hate crimes against Palestinians.
    Footage of the incident shows Odeh blocking Ben Gvir from entering the ward where the suspect was hospitalized with his body. The two lawmakers can be heard trading barbs, with Odeh shouting "you're a little terrorist, you will not enter, go away" at the hard-right lawmaker.
    He is then seen pushing Ben Gvir as he pressed forward toward the room. Ben Gvir lunged at him only to be stopped by staff who stepped in to separate the pair.
    "Take your provocations elsewhere, there are patients here," the hospital's deputy director-general Dr. Itay Lavon can be heard as saying as he tried to deescalate the situation. "I treat the hunger-striking patient like any other person."
    2 View gallery
    עימות בין איתמר בן גביר לאיימן עודה בביה"ח קפלן
    עימות בין איתמר בן גביר לאיימן עודה בביה"ח קפלן
    MKs Ayman Odeh and Itamar Ben Gvir face off outside terror suspect's hospital room
    (Photo: Meir Turgeman)
    Police were called to the scene and Ben Gvir later said he would press charges against Odeh.
    Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy denounced Odeh on Twitter for assaulting Ben Gvir.
    "I strongly condemn the violence MK Ayman Odeh used today at Kaplan Hospital against MK Ben Gvir. An MK raising his hand against another MK is crossing all red lines," he wrote.
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