Israeli National Security Minister and Otzma Yehudit chairman, Itamar Ben-Gvir, along with two other ministers from his party, boycotted the government’s cabinet meeting on Sunday in protest over the decision by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to return the bodies of three members of the Lions’ Den militia to the Palestinian Authority. The party accused the prime minister and the defense minister of “releasing the Jordanian terrorist” and “releasing the bodies of terrorists.” The bodies of the Lions’ Den members were transferred to the Palestinian Authority with Gallant’s approval, to be handed over to the families.
Following the death of three Lions’ Den militia members who were killed by Israeli Defense Forces in Nablus in March, the group announced that they had been laying an ambush for an IDF force and fired at a military outpost in the area. According to the Palestinian Authority, Israel is holding a total of 133 bodies of Palestinians, some dating back to 2015.
Otzma Yehudit Party’s Criticisms and Demands
Ben-Gvir accused the government of adopting a policy that is not in line with the mandate given by the public and demanded a full right-wing policy. The party called the decision to return the bodies of the terrorists a grave mistake that will cost Israel dearly. They reiterated that they would continue to abstain from Knesset votes until further notice, and that the government must change its direction and begin to carry out the policy for which it was elected.
Implications of the Boycott
The boycott by the Otzma Yehudit party will not have a significant impact on the government’s ability to function, as the coalition still holds a majority in the Knesset. However, it highlights the tensions within the government and the challenges of maintaining a fragile coalition that includes parties with vastly different ideologies.
The controversy surrounding the return of the bodies of the Lions’ Den militia members highlights the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine and the challenges of finding a peaceful resolution. The boycott by the Otzma Yehudit party underscores the fragile nature of the Israeli government and the need for political leaders to work together to address the complex issues facing the region.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is Itamar Ben-Gvir?Itamar Ben-Gvir is an Israeli lawyer, far-right politician and member of the Knesset. He is the leader of the Otzma Yehudit party and known for his controversial views and activism on behalf of Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
What is the Lions Den militia?The Lions’ Den is a Palestinian militant organization that is active in the West Bank. It has been responsible for a number of attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, and is believed to be affiliated with Hamas.
What is the controversy surrounding the return of the bodies of the Lions’ Den members?The controversy stems from the decision by the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to return the bodies of three members of the Lions’ Den militia to the Palestinian Authority. Itamar Ben-Gvir and other members of the Otzma Yehudit party have strongly criticized the decision, arguing that it amounts to appeasement of terrorists and undermines Israeli security.
What is the current status of Israeli-Palestinian relations?Israeli-Palestinian relations have been strained for decades due to a number of unresolved issues, including the status of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and Palestinian statehood. In recent years, the situation has been characterized by sporadic violence, including attacks by Palestinian militants and Israeli military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.