The Palestinian government had warned of the danger of this measure and regretted the “international silence”
Dec. 28 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Israel’s parliament approved a controversial law on Wednesday to grant the leader of far-right Otzma Yehudi, Itamar Ben Gvir, broad powers over the police, part of a coalition deal that will allow prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to return to office.
The law, which has obtained 61 votes in favor and 55 against, amends existing regulations and emphasizes that the Government has “authority” over the Police, while putting Ben Gvir, who will be appointed Minister of National Security, at the helm. of force on behalf of the Executive.
Thus, it explicitly grants the politician the authority to design the general policies and “general principles of action” of the Police, while allowing him to influence the policies on investigations after consulting with the Chief of Police and listening to the opinion of the attorney general.
“We have made history,” said Ben Gvir, who has promised that these measures will allow a “strong” police, amid criticism from the outgoing Security Minister, Omer Barlev, who has warned that the legislation gives some powers too wide and diffuse.
In this sense, Barlev has affirmed that “the powers of the minister to set policies are formulated in a broad, general and vague way, which opens the door to interpretation and excesses”. In fact, the law has been approved after the withdrawal of clauses that included the police chief being a subordinate of Ben Gvir and even gave him the power to interfere in police investigations, which sparked criticism from the Prosecutor’s Office.
The ministry that Ben Gvir will head has been created especially within the framework of the coalition agreement and will have extended powers to include authorities previously dispersed among various government offices, amid a rise in tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Thus, the Border Police in the West Bank, a unit that has nearly 2,000 soldiers and whose duties include riot control, arrests, and evacuation of settlements, will go from being under Army orders to being in the hands of Ben Gvir’s portfolio. . Oztma Yehudi also receives the Ministries of Development of the Negev and Galilee and the Ministry of Jewish Heritage.
The far-right leader has been accused in the past of inciting violence and stoking tensions with the Palestinians. The parliamentarian has made numerous visits to the Esplanade of the Mosques and supports that Jews can pray in the place, something prohibited at the moment.
In addition, he advocated after the double attack carried out in November in Jerusalem, which left two dead, for “a return to selective assassinations”, increase restrictions on prisoners convicted of security crimes, suspend payments to the Palestinian Authority that are derived from families of terrorists and “apply a curfew and go house to house” to look for the suspects.
The Palestinian government published a statement on Tuesday warning of the danger of passing the law expanding Ben Gvir’s powers, saying that it will have an impact on “the Palestinian cause and the lives of Palestinians in occupied Palestine, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.
Thus, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry stated that these measures “will perpetuate the occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and deepen the settlements -which Netanyahu has already promised to expand–“, before adding that “they undermine the opportunity to create a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967”.
In this sense, he also made reference to the amendment of the Basic Law to create an appointment mechanism without government directive to allow the leader of the far-right Religious Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich, to hold a position in the Ministry of Defense.
Smotrich will be in charge of Civil and Social Affairs, a position until now limited by a government directive, something that will not be necessary this time. Among his powers will also include military appointments and the construction of settlements in the West Bank, illegal under international law.
For this reason, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry stated that “settler gangs, their associates and expansionist settlement organizations have begun to implement the policies of Ben Gvir and Smotrich on the ground because they feel protected, supported and encouraged by the next government. “.
“The ministry reaffirms that Netanyahu bears full and direct responsibility for the implementation of these colonial plans and their disastrous results, which threaten to explode the conflict and close the door to a peaceful and political solution to it,” it said.
Finally, he showed his “deep disbelief” at “the silence of the international community on the steps that are being taken to legitimize the powers of Ben Gvir and Smotrich over the Palestinian problem. “We consider that it is an extension of international double standards and the protection against future violations and crimes of the occupation and the practices of the neo-fascists,” he concluded.