Israeli minister Ben-Gvir says his rights 'more important' than those of Palestinians

Israeli minister Ben-Gvir says his rights 'more important' than those of Palestinians
Ben-Gvir's remarks were seen by critics as an open admission that Israel is enforcing an apartheid system on the Palestinians.
2 min read
24 August, 2023
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is a West Bank settler leader who was once convicted of supporting a Jewish terror group [Getty]

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Wednesday that his family's right to free movement overrides that of Palestinians – remarks slammed by critics as an explicit admission of Israeli apartheid.

"My right, and my wife’s and my children’s right, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria is more important than the right to movement for Arabs," Ben-Gvir said on Israel's Channel 12, using the names Judea and Samaria to refer to the occupied West Bank.

The comments came during a heated exchange with Channel 12 journalist Mohammad Magadli.

"Sorry Mohammad," he continued, "but that’s the reality. That’s the truth. My right to life comes before their right to movement."

Ben-Gvir's remarks drew scathing criticism, including from Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi.

"For the first time, an Israeli minister admits on air that Israel enforces an apartheid regime based on Jewish supremacy."

Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have accused Israel of committing "the crime of apartheid" against Palestinians. In the West Bank, Palestinians are subjected to checkpoints and other restrictions on movement, as well as mass surveillance. Those living in Gaza have been under Israeli siege since 2007.

Ben-Gvir, a West Bank settler leader and far-right fanatic who years ago was convicted supporting a Jewish terror group, now serves as Israel's national security minister, overseeing the country's police force.

The Jewish Power party head also has a history of making racist remarks about Palestinians, and was charged more than 50 times in his youth with incitement to violence or hate speech.

On Wednesday, the far-right minister also expressed his aim of bringing back Israel's policy of assassinations of Palestinians.

"It is no secret that I support a return to assassinations, and not providing money for the Palestinian Authority," he said.