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Friday, May 24, 2024

Israel’s national security minister prefers Trump in power

Itamar Ben-Gvir accused President Biden of not giving West Jerusalem enough freedom to fight Hamas

Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has criticized US President Biden’s approach to Israel’s war in Gaza, arguing that the situation would be “completely different” if former President Donal Trump was in power.

“Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel (to Gaza), which goes to Hamas,” Ben-Gvir told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “If Trump was in power, the US conduct would be completely different.”

Read more: Half of Americans think Israel going ‘too far’ in Gaza – poll

Since the beginning of the military conflict, following Hamas’s incursion into Israel on October 7th, which left around 1200 Israelis dead and over 200 taken hostage, the United States pledged “whatever it needs” to support the counteroffensive, but repeatedly urged Israel to take measures to avoid harming Palestinian civilians.

Ben-Gvir’s remarks drew condemnation from Israeli politicians, with some accusing the minister  of harming “Israel’s strategic relations” and calling the interview “a direct blow to the war efforts.”

Labor chairwoman MK Merav Michaeli interpreted the comments as a “blatant and deliberate intervention in the American election campaign” and urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to sack the minister.

“If Netanyahu does not fire Ben-Gvir, it is tantamount to unreservedly endorsing his remarks. No one anywhere will believe that a government minister would dare to make such harmful and even ungrateful remarks without having the backing of the prime minister of Israel,” she said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Netanyahu responded by saying that he was “not in need of any assistance in navigating relations with the US and the international community,” adding that the Israeli government makes its own decisions “even in those instances where there is no agreement with our American friends.”

Read more: UN Chief Concerned Over Expansion of Israeli Offensive

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry denounced Ben-Gvir’s comments as “racist” and called for international sanctions against him.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was appointed as a National Security Minister in December 2022, is known for his far-right views. He previously called for the occupation of Gaza and the expulsion of the Palestinian population from the enclave. He also threatened to bring down Netanyahu’s governing coalition if the PM is too soft on Hamas.