What Has Ben-Gvir Been Up To? A Glimpse into Israeli Minister’s War Activities

Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. (Image: PC)

By Robert Inlakesh

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir is one of the keys to how this war on the Gaza Strip ends and seems incapable of compromise.

Itamar Ben-Gvir has been Israel’s security minister for nearly a year now, having been accused domestically of running his ministry “like a crime organization has taken over”, what has the extremist settler activist been up to since the beginning of the war on Gaza.

Long Track Record of Racism

Ben-Gvir had a long track record of racism against Palestinians prior to becoming one of the most powerful men in Israeli politics. He also had a lengthy criminal record, having picked up over 50 charges for everything from supporting a terrorist group to inciting racism. 

A trained lawyer, leader of the Oztma Yehudit (Jewish Power) Party went from being a fringe activist living in one of the most extreme illegal settlements in the West Bank, to being in the position of overseeing the Israeli border police of the occupied territory and creating a state-funded ultra-nationalist militia; the National Guard.

Israel’s infamous security minister openly advocates for ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the territories Israel occupied in June of 1967.

10,000 Rifles

He also takes a hard line against Palestinian citizens of Israel, which is why it came as no surprise when he formed a special task force, post October 7, to target people for their social media posts. 

Over 250 Israeli citizens, mostly Palestinians, have been held in maximum security prisons for weeks awaiting prosecution, mainly for tame social media posts and in one case an arrest was made over someone unfriending the wrong person on social media. 

Itamar Ben-Gvir has also begun an initiative by purchasing around 10,000 rifles to hand out to “security teams” throughout Israeli-held territory, following the initiation of the Gaza war. 

Since that time, new firearms regulations enacted allow hundreds of thousands of Israelis to carry handguns, without the necessary checks or oversight. 

Palestinian Prisoners

Ben-Gvir has also been attempting to taunt Palestinians in Gaza, over the treatment of Palestinian hostages held in Israeli military detention. 

He has also pushed for a bill to be debated and implemented, which was originally introduced earlier this year, which would introduce the death penalty for Palestinians who committed attacks with the intent to kill Israelis. 

Both of these moves have been heavily criticized by many Israelis themselves, for fear of provoking a backlash on the Israelis detained by Hamas in Gaza. 

“I begged you not to capitalize on our suffering now,” said Gil Dikman, an Israeli who had a relative detained in Gaza, claiming that the moves were counterproductive “when the lives of our loved ones are at stake, when the sword is at their necks.”

The extremist security minister has also threatened to storm al-Aqsa Mosque again, without setting a specific time or date, this is a provocative move which had provoked an urgent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in January. 

Ben-Gvir has also reportedly directed Israeli Prison Service Commissioner, Katy Perry, to prepare inhumane underground facilities for the incarceration of alleged Palestinians taken captive from Gaza.

War on Gaza

Also, Itamar Ben-Gvir is currently in a position to pressure Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to continue his war in Gaza at all costs. 

When there was a 7 day temporary ceasefire, between the Palestinian resistance and Israel, during which a civilian prisoner exchange took place, Ben-Gvir stated that he would withdraw from the government if the Israeli Premier decided to discontinue his military campaign in Gaza.

In order for the Israeli PM to remain in power, Ben-Gvir has to be kept within the fold of his coalition for fear of his government collapsing, which led to Netanyahu stating that he is ready to go to war with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. 

For the extremist security minister, the PA is a huge threat due to its laying claim to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. 

When the US government began discussing the PA taking over the Gaza Strip, Itamar Ben-Gvir was infuriated and viewed this step as a betrayal. He is one of the keys to how this war on the Gaza Strip ends and seems incapable of compromise.

(The Palestine Chronicle

– Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He focuses on the Middle East, specializing in Palestine. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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