Ben-Gvir accuses Israel army chief of 'faking' news on West Bank settler violence

Ben-Gvir accuses Israel army chief of 'faking' news on West Bank settler violence
The rift between Israel's national security minister and army chief is growing for a number of reasons, including settler attacks and the suspensions of troops.
2 min read
20 December, 2023
Ben-Gvir (centre) reportedly demanded that the soldiers dismissed are returned to duty [Getty]

Israel’s extremist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has reportedly accused the Israeli army of publishing false information about settler violence in the occupied West Bank, drawing a rebuke from some of Israel’s closest allies.

Ben-Gvir, a far-right nationalist settler leader, asked Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant to provide clarifications on the army’s reports regarding settler violence, according to Israeli media.

He was quoted as saying that the army’s report on settler violence has caused "great damage" to Israel.

Sanctions have been imposed by the US, the UK, and other Western countries on some extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank. They have urged Israel to do more to curb violence by settlers .

Since the start of the Gaza war on October 7, Israeli forces and settlers have stepped up attacks in the occupied territory. More than 300 Palestinians have been killed since then, and thousands more arrested.

There have been growing tensions between Ben-Gvir and the Israeli army leadership. The rift grew recently when the Israeli army said it suspended soldiers who filmed themselves singing Jewish prayers at a mosque in Jenin in the West Bank during a three-day long raid, in which 12 Palestinians were killed, including two minors.

Ben-Gvir reportedly scolded Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi during a security cabinet meeting for suspending the soldiers, saying it harmed Israel’s image in the public eye and "the morale of troops."

"I want to know that the soldiers who chanted the Shema at the mosque are returning to active duty," Ben-Gvir was quoted as demanding from Halevi.

The far-right minister said the war cabinet should have more of a say in internal army affairs, something Halevi outright refused.

They both reportedly yelled at each other and used insulting language, Israeli media said.

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