Ben-Gvir's attempts to remove police protection for Gaza aid 'unlawful interference': Israeli state prosecutor

Ben-Gvir's attempts to remove police protection for Gaza aid 'unlawful interference': Israeli state prosecutor
It comes as Itamar Ben-Gvir attempts to place the Israeli police further under his control, with the police commissioner becoming subordinate to Gvir's office.
3 min read
15 June, 2024
Itamar Ben-Gvir has advocated for resettling the Gaza Strip after the war [Getty]

Israel's Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir has been accused of breaching the law over his attempts to pressure the Israeli police to prevent aid convoys reaching Gaza.

In a letter to Israel's High Court of Justice, the State Prosecutor's Office said that Ben-Gvir's interventions and pressuring of the deputy police commissioner are "a gross violation of the law and prohibited intervention by the minister in the police's operational activity", as quoted by Israeli news site Haaretz.

It added that "said actions by the minister were prohibited before the amendment to the Police Ordinance, and they are prohibited afterward and contravene court decisions".

The far-right minister had demanded that Israeli police in the south of the country stop providing protection to aid trucks entering Gaza, arguing that it was the Israeli army's responsibility.

As part of this effort, Ben-Gvir held a conference call with Israel's deputy police commissioner and the military commander of Israel's southern district without the knowledge of the police commissioner, who subsequently reaffirmed the police would provide protection.

Gaza's aid convoys have been attacked by Israeli organisations and extremist groups attempting to stop aid entering Gaza.

This includes Tzav 9, which has been sanctioned by the US for burning two trucks that were bringing aid to Gaza on 13 May.

The letter sent to the High Court comes as Ben-Gvir attempts to instate two sections of a bill passed in 2022 that reformed the role of minister for national security.

The two sections which were dropped because of legal issues, would see the police commissioner become subordinate to Ben-Gvir, who would also be able to intervene in cases and investigations.

A nine-panel High Court will hear the petitions against the amendments currently being deliberated that seek to empower Ben-Gvir's office.

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In addition to the petition from the State Prosecutor's Office, which is also signed by senior High Court of Justice Department officials, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have also joined the effort.

Ben-Gvir's attorney, who is against the letter, had his position attached to the letter, where he wrote that "the letter is intended to embarrass the minister" and that Ben-Gvir called the document "deceitful".

He added that "the minister reserves the right to disprove the claims in the letter, including filing a response on his behalf or demanding an investigation of the police commissioner in order to investigate the truth".

As well as attempting to stop the police from protecting Gaza aid convoys, Ben-Gvir has also intervened in other cases prior to the outbreak of war on Gaza.

This includes supporting settler Elisha Yered who killed 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Mu'tan in the Israeli occupied West Bank, visiting him in prison and praising him for his actions.

Israel's war on Gaza, which has been ongoing since 7 October, has killed 37,232 Palestinians and wounded a further 85,037.