Itamar Ben Gvir addressing his supporters after the exit polls on 1 November 2022 (Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel via Flash90)
UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said that the British government has no intention of working with Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, The Times of Israel reported on 24 February.
“The UK government has not engaged with Itamar Ben-Gvir in his role as Minister of National Security, and we have no current plans to do so,” Cleverly wrote in a letter to the Council for Arab-British Understanding.
Cleverly confirmed that there was and still is British fear of the formation of the new far-right Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that he has not personally dealt with Ben Gvir, until now.
“We are writing to you to express our grave concern about the annexationist policies of the incoming Government of Israel, building on the policies of its predecessors which have produced a one state reality: effectively, Israel controls the lives of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory,” the letter said.
Additionally, Cleverly reaffirmed the UK’s stance that all settlements are “illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and risk the physical viability of a Two-State solution.”
The letter expressed worry regarding anticipated Israeli government plans to annex portions of the West Bank or grow settlements. Additionally, it pointed out two extreme right-wing politicians, Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
Last week, the Maariv newspaper revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pressuring the leaders of the security services to put an end to the uprising of some Israeli ministers, which is being led by Ben Gvir and Smotrich.
The newspaper’s website verified that Netanyahu is in contact with many people in an effort to restrain some ministers regarding sensitive security matters and to persuade them to drop potentially harmful ideas and initiatives.
Meanwhile, Ben Gvir has clashed with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai over his demands to accelerate the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported on 14 February.
According to numerous reports, there were “voices raised” during the heated discussions in both cases, and Ben Gvir ultimately pledged to proceed with the demolitions.
The National Security Minister has framed such demolitions as part of Israel’s effort to combat “Palestinian terror,” even though the homes were demolished for lack of building permits in recent weeks and were not related to any security offenses.