Gantz warns that Ben-Gvir wants to establish ‘private militia’

Itamar Ben-Gvir (Ahmad Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  November 30, 2022

Outgoing Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz accused the head of Otzma Yehudit party on Monday of having a desire to establish a “private militia”, Haaretz has reported.

Itamar Ben-Gvir’s demands during negotiations with Benjamin Netanyahu to form a governing coalition threaten to take power from the army’s Central Command, warned Gantz. “At best they stem from a lack of understanding and at worst from a desire to establish a private militia for Ben-Gvir,” the former chief of staff added.

“Such security mistakes,” Gantz told the annual conference of the Israel Democracy Institute, “may cost human lives.”

Far-right extremist Ben-Gvir, Haaretz pointed out, has never served in the military, and yet is set to be the National Security Minister in Netanyahu’s new government. He has also, it is said, been promised that legislation will be passed granting him the ability to set policy for the police, including Border Police operating in the occupied West Bank.

According to Gantz, the demands by Netanyahu’s far-right allies to have control of civil administration and law enforcement in the occupied Palestinian territories could lead to the end of security coordination with the Palestinians.

The outgoing minister also said that he is “disturbed by talks about changing the procedures for opening fire by politicians who have not spent even one minute on the battlefield, who have no experience in the matter.”