(Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
The UAE ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja, invited Itamar Ben Gvir to the celebration in Tel Aviv on the 51st anniversary of the Gulf country’s Independence Day, Israel’s public broadcaster (KAN) reported. He was invited along with other Israeli MPs, ministers, and personalities.
The invitation was a surprise, as the Emirates’ Foreign Minister had already told Benjamin Netanyahu that Gvir and Smotrich could potentially harm relations between the UAE and Israel.
Ben Gvir is described as an anti-Arab extremist and will lead Israel’s newly created Ministry of National Security following negotiations with elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The newly created position gives Gvir control over Israel’s police force in the occupied West Bank, a move denounced by the outgoing Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz.
Meanwhile, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that “the whole world is worried” about newly elected lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir’s far-right stance, according to Israeli media sources.
Gvir is notoriously known for his racist remarks and endorsement of the Israeli army’s aggressive approach toward Palestinians.
The prospective national security minister announced that he plans to relax open fire regulations for Israeli security forces, potentially green-lighting deadly force against any Palestinian possessing stones or firebombs.
“Whoever holds a Molotov cocktail needs to be shot,” the leader of Jewish Power told Army Radio on Sunday.
“I’m not saying they should be shot in the head, but at least shoot them in the leg,” he added.
However, Ben Gvir specifically said the new rules should only be applied to people who “hate Israel,” implying that security forces should not be allowed to use lethal force against Israeli extremist settlers, who often clash with security forces.
Currently, Israeli policy allows the military leadership to set the rules of engagement in the occupied West Bank, allowing troops to shoot at suspects who have used Molotov cocktails or stones, but only as long as the object is still in possession of the attacker.