Netanyahu backs minister after claiming Jewish rights trump those of Palestinians

In a statement, Netanyahu offers an explanation of Ben-Gvir's intentions in comments described as racist, despite condemnations by the U.S. and the EU and criticism from unnamed Israeli officials

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, failed to condemn statements made this week by his National Security Minister, claiming he and his family's rights to travel safely on West Bank roads precedes the rights of Palestinians for free movement.
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“Unfortunately, Palestinian terrorists take advantage of this freedom of movement to murder Israeli women, children and families by ambushing them at certain points on different routes," Netanyahu said. "In order to prevent these heinous murders, Israel's security forces have implemented special security measures in these areas. This is what Ben-Gvir meant when he said the right to life precedes freedom of movement," Netanyahu said in a statement he released two days after the minister's comments but added that the freedom of movement of Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank, would be maintained.
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 ישיבת ממשלה
 ישיבת ממשלה
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Abir Sultan / EPA )
The minister was interviewed days after a mother of three, from a West Bank settlement was murdered and another wounded in a terror attack near Hebron.
The international rebuke of what was described as inflammatory and racist. statements, continued, while Israeli leaders, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and President Issac Herzog, have said nothing.
The U.S. State Department denounced Ben-Gvir's comments
"We condemn all racist rhetoric; as such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions and are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all."
"The values of democracy and respect for human rights stand central to the EU-Israel partnership, including as regards the people living under occupation in the Palestinian territory," the EU said in a statement on Friday.
On Thursday, American model Bella Hadid who is a vocal critic of Israel and a supporter of the Palestinian cause, posted a clip of Ben-Gvir's comments to her 60 million followers.
Officials who were not named said Ben-Gvir caused untold harm to Israel and handed the BDS proof for their claims that Israel is an apartheid state and Nic Kaufman, an Israeli attorney who works at the International Criminal Court in the Hague said the minister admitted that the policy he intends to advance is conclusively one of apartheid. "According to international law and the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ben-Gvir is calling for a systemic regime of oppression and the power of one race over another in the occupied territories," he said.
Ben-Gvir said on Friday that he would not apologize or retract his comments. He and other far-right members of the coalition publically criticized the senior command of the IDF for what they described as a failure to end terror attacks on the West Bank. Settlement Minister Orit Stroke went so far as to accuse the military of working outside their authority, like the "Wagner Group," although she quickly retracted that statement.
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איתמר בן גביר
איתמר בן גביר
Itamar Ben-Gvir
(Photo: Nahum Segal)
Netanyahu had not been quick to back Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi or his commanders waiting days before releasing a statement on behalf of himself and his Defense Minister, in which he said that the IDF and the Shin Bet were working diligently to foil terror attacks.
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