Smotrich defends Ben-Gvir’s ‘Jewish rights supersede Arab rights’ comment

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Smotrich defends Ben-Gvir’s ‘Jewish rights supersede Arab rights’ comment

'My right, and my wife’s and my children’s right, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria (West Ban) is more important than the right to movement for Arabs,' Ben-Gvir said.

Israeli right-wing Knesset member Itamar ben Gvir (L) and Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset.
Israeli right-wing Knesset member Itamar ben Gvir (L) and Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset.

Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich defended National Security Minister Ben-Gvir’s comments about the rights of Jews superseding that of Arabs’, calling those criticising Israel “hypocrites.”

When asked about the deteriorating situation in the West Bank, Ben-Gvir told Channel 12: “My right, and my wife’s and my children’s right, to get around on the roads in Judea and Samaria is more important than the right to movement for Arabs.”

Ben-Gvir went on to say “sorry Mohammad (Channel 12 reporter sitting opposite Ben-Gvir in the studio). But that’s the reality. That’s the truth. My right to life comes before their right to movement.”

Ben-Gvir was interviewed after an Israeli woman was killed in a terror attack near Hebron, not far the settlement of Kiryat Arba where Ben-Gvir resides.

His comments went viral, causing widespread condemnation for being proof of Israeli apartheid. The U.S. State Department issued a statement shortly after, saying Washington “strongly condemns Minister Ben-Gvir’s inflammatory comments on the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.”

“Such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions and are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all. President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have been clear that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to enjoy equal measures of freedom and security,” the statement concluded.

Smotrich fired back at the U.S. in an interview with Army Radio on Monday, saying: “There is no country more moral than Israel and anyone in the world who attacks us is a hypocrite.”

“I’m not even talking about the Americans — what they did in Afghanistan or in Iraq. They can’t lecture us about morality or human rights. That is the greatest hypocrisy,” he added.

Smotrich also commented on the many reports in Israeli and American media about Saudi Arabia demanding Israel make significant concessions to the Palestinians before a normalisation deal can be made.

“We will not make any concessions to the Palestinians. It’s a fiction,” he said, adding that a deal with Saudi Arabia “has nothing to do with Judea and Samaria (West Bank).”

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