Far-right Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Tuesday visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem is being roundly condemned across the Middle East. Ben-Gvir is a key part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government, which includes ultranationalist and ultraorthodox parties that are calling openly for the annexation of the West Bank. “The international community has to speak with one voice in rejecting this extremism and rejecting those terrorists and those elements of fascists in the Israeli government,” Palestine’s ambassador to the U.N., Riyad Mansour, urged Wednesday. In 2007, Ben-Gvir was convicted in an Israeli court of incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist organization. In 2021, he relocated his parliamentary office to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, where settlers have attempted to violently evict Palestinian residents from their homes. As the newly sworn-in minister of national security, Ben-Gvir will now be responsible for border police in the West Bank.
We speak to Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist and author, and Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and former adviser to the negotiating team of the Palestine Liberation Organization, about Ben-Gvir’s visit, Netanyahu’s new government and surging violence against Palestinians.
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