Fri 25 Aug 2023 9:15 am - Jerusalem Time

U.S and EU condemn Ben-Gvir's 'racist' comments against Palestinians

The U.S. State Department and the European Union condemned Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's remarks that his family's freedom of movement and security is more important than the freedom of movement of the Palestinians.

"We strongly condemn Israeli Minister Ben-Gvir’s inflammatory comments on the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents of the West Bank," the U.S. State Department spokesperson said. 

"We condemn all racist rhetoric; as such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions and are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all," the statement added.

The European Union also weighed in on the far-right minister's remarks, asserting that their relationship with Israel "must be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles."

They added that Israel must allow freedom of movement for Palestinians and the development of Area C of the West Bank.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry welcomed the condemnations as "a step in the right direction, but is not sufficient" given Ben-Gvir's "absolute hatred" of Palestinians.

The ministry added that the U.S. administration in particular should pressure Netanyahu to dismiss Ben-Gvir, especially at a time when settler terrorism is rampant due to its support from the likes of the national security minister and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. 

The ministry added that it holds Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who appointed Ben-Gvir and Smotrich and leads the government in which they serve – as ultimately responsible. 

The Foreign Ministry held the Israeli government and its president, Netanyahu, directly and fully responsible for repeating these positions and statements.

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir openly said on TV on Wednesday that he believes his family's own right to move around the West Bank without feeling threatened in the West Bank is more important than the right of Palestinians to freedom of movement, and that he believes that is "the reality." 

Speaking on a panel on Israel's Channel 12, Ben-Gvir said that it is "my right, my wife's right, my childrens' rights to freely move around the streets of Judea and Samaria [the Jewish biblical name for the West Bank] is more important than the freedom of movement of Arabs.""My right to life comes before the freedom of movement," he added.

Addressing Channel 12 journalist Mohammad Magadli directly, he said "sorry Mohammad, but that's the reality."


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U.S and EU condemn Ben-Gvir's 'racist' comments against Palestinians