Ben-Gvir Hails Soldier Who Executed Palestinian Man as ‘Hero’

Israeli far-right politician Itamar Ben Gvir carries out a provocative visit to Sheikh Jarrah. (Photo: via Silwanic Twitter page)

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right Israeli politician poised to become a government minister, has hailed an Israeli soldier who shot dead an unarmed Palestinian as a “hero”, The New Arab reported.

Ben-Gvir – who has been designated national security minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government – congratulated the soldier for taking the “precise, swift and rigorous” shots that killed 22-year-old Palestinian Ammar Mefleh in the occupied West Bank on Saturday.

“Kudos to the hero warrior,” Ben-Gvir said on Twitter, calling Mefleh a “despicable terrorist”.

The Otzma Yehudit party leader reportedly spoke to the soldier on the phone, telling him: “Well done, you did what was assigned to you… I’m proud there are fighters like you.”

The Israeli soldier praised by Ben Gvir shot Mefleh at point-blank range in the town of Huwarah, south of Nablus, in broad daylight.

Video of the incident shows Mefleh scuffling with the Israeli soldier, who tried to detain him. The soldier reached for a gun and shot Mefleh, continuing to shoot even when the Palestinian was down on the ground and immobilized. The footage shows Mefleh’s hands were empty throughout the incident.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defence Minister Benny Gantz also praised the soldier for his actions.

Lapid wished the soldier a “speedy recovery”, and rubbished reports that said Mefleh had not tried to commit a stabbing attack.

Gantz said Israeli soldiers, including the one who killed Mefleh, had his “full backing” and lashed out at high-profile diplomats and officials who had condemned the incident.

“I strongly condemn the attempts to present the event in a false and manipulative manner, and the statement of the UN envoy to the Middle East against the fighter, who acted with determination and professionalism,” Gantz said.

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