Far-right Israeli leader Ben-Gvir pulls out gun on Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah
Far-right Israeli parliamentarian Itamar Ben-Gvir flashed a gun at Palestinians when visiting occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district on Thursday night, in video footage shared widely online.
The ultra-nationalist, who leads the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party was seen pulling out a weapon and shouting at local residents in the neighbourhood, where Palestinians have struggled to save their homes from Israeli expulsion orders.
Ben-Gvir called on Israeli forces to "use live fire" on Palestinians throwing stones, a night after he threatened to “mow down” a group of Palestinians also in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli media reported.
"If they throw stones, shoot them," the Knesset member is heard saying in the footage as security personnel attempt to hold him back, said The Times of Israel.
Palestinians "are throwing stones and endangering my life and the lives of the residents here and the police are afraid to shoot," the far-right politician later said in a tweet.
Videos from the scene show Ben-Gvir with supporters and security standing around 25 meters from Palestinians. Israeli settlers are seen antagonising Palestinian residents, followed by loud bangs, crashes and shouting.
Five people were detained on Thursday night, reported the Times of Israel.
Ben-Gvir also visited Sheikh Jarrah on Wednesday night. He told Palestinians to remember that he was their "landlord," as seen in video footage shared online.
Israeli parliamentarian Ben Gvir flashing a weapon at Palestinians. He will soon head the third largest party in Israel. He calls for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and who says his “hero” is a man who massacred 26 Palestinians as they were praying in a mosque. https://t.co/ahozg2XN7c— Diana Buttu (@dianabuttu) October 13, 2022
Elected in 2021, Ben-Gvir has brought attention to himself through deliberate provocations against Palestinians; for instance, he set up makeshift offices in occupied Sheikh Jarrah.
He is a fierce supporter of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was known for his anti-Palestinian racism and Jewish supremacist ideology. He has also expressed admiration for Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli settler who massacred 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron in 1994.
Although originally a fringe player, Ben-Gvir's popularity has surged ahead of the November elections, in part thanks to backing from former PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
A total of 28 Palestinian families, or around 550 people, who live in the Sheikh Jarrah district in occupied East Jerusalem risk being forcibly evicted to be replaced by Israeli settlers.
The evictions are seen by Palestinian residents and their allies as a form of ethnic cleansing.