The secrets of the Netanyahu and Ben Gvir agreement… a private army and the beginning of the annexation of the West Bank (analysis)

HipHop24  - HipHop24
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Gantz: Ben Gvir will be the real prime minister and he will have his own army
Peace Now: We move from creeping annexation to turbo-annexation and full support for hilltop terror
In theory, the leader of the far-right “Jewish Power” party, Itamar Ben Gvir, will receive the national security portfolio, but in practice, the folds of the agreement between him and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will include much more than that.

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority said that the right-wing Likud party, led by Netanyahu, reached at dawn on Friday an agreement to distribute portfolios with the “Jewish Power” party, according to which Ben Gvir would be granted the national security portfolio, which is the internal security portfolio, with broader powers than it had in years.

The national security portfolio that Netanyahu created specifically for Ben Gvir is essentially the current internal security portfolio, with broader powers.

The agreement with the “Jewish Power” party also provides for the establishment of a large-scale national guard, and the expansion of the mobilization of reserve forces in the Border Police.

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Also under it, the Ben Gvir Ministry will control the Border Guard Division in the West Bank, which is currently under the Ministry of Defense with some input from the Ministry of Homeland Security.

** Control of Border Guard
The “Times of Israel” news website said that the agreement means that Ben Gvir “will have control over border guard forces involved in resolving tensions in the West Bank, as well as evacuating outposts.”

Ben Gvir opposes the evacuation of outposts from the West Bank and calls for a tougher policy against the Palestinians, including leniency in shooting suspected Palestinians even for throwing stones at settlers and the army.

Accordingly, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, whose government headed by Yair Lapid ends after the formation of Netanyahu’s government, asked: “National security or the dismantling of security into parts of the authority and the establishment of a private army for Ben Gvir?”

And the public opinion polls that took place in recent weeks showed a popular rejection of Ben Gvir’s assumption of the internal security portfolio, so the Israelis woke up on Friday morning, to grant him much broader powers than he thought.

In a post on Facebook, Gantz identified 3 dimensions he described as dangerous for the decision to assign Ben Gvir the new national security portfolio.

He said, “On the security side, the intention to divide the capabilities and powers of the Civil Administration (the Israeli army’s executive arm in the West Bank) between the Ministries of Defense and Finance may bring us intense international pressure regarding the actual annexation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) without us benefiting from anything, not in security or in the field.

Gantz warned that this “will create a major administrative weakness and security weakness.”

** “turbine” annexation
Currently, the Ministry of Defense assumes full responsibility for the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, which is tasked with granting work permits to Palestinians and issuing building permits for Palestinians and settlers in Area C, which is estimated at 60 percent of the West Bank.

The Civil Administration is also responsible for coordinating with the Palestinian Authority on everyday issues, such as the movement of patients to hospitals in East Jerusalem, Israel, and outside the Palestinian territories, and travel, export, and import permits to the Palestinian territories.

Under the agreements crystallized between the “Likud” on the one hand and the “Jewish Power” and the hard-right “religious Zionism” headed by Bezalel Smotrich, settler issues in the West Bank will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance, which Smotrich may assign.

While the Palestinian issues will be the responsibility of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, which will be assigned to a person from the “Likud” and the Ministry of National Security, headed by Ben Gvir.

Accordingly, the left-wing Israeli Peace Now movement said on Twitter, Thursday: “We are moving from a policy of creeping annexation and lax enforcement of the law in the West Bank, to turbo-annexation and full support for hilltop terrorism.”

“Hill terror” means settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and the establishment of settlement outposts on private Palestinian lands amid the Israeli army’s laxity in imposing the law on settlers, according to Israeli human rights organizations.

** Jaish bin Ghafir
On the other hand, Gantz saw in his post that “the idea of ​​establishing a private army for Ben Gvir in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) poses a threat to the exercise of power and will create a real security imbalance.”

He was referring to the agreement between the “Likud” and the “Jewish Power” to form a large-scale national guard.

“In recent years, operations have taken place in full and close coordination between the army, the police and the Shin Bet security service, under the leadership of the Israeli army,” Gantz said.

He added, “The idea of ​​dismantling the use of force into elements will lead to contradictions on the ground and a serious security failure for which Netanyahu will be responsible,” and warned that this “will lead to security chaos.”

Ben Gvir had repeatedly declared that he wanted the National Guard in order to impose what he called Israeli law on the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Gantz indicated that the agreement between the “Likud” and the “Jewish Power” is also “dangerous in its administrative dimension.”

He said, “When I hear about the apparent agreements between Netanyahu and the extreme right and the intention to divide the government into parts of the ministries, I remember that I already warned Netanyahu when we formed the government two and a half years ago, that the formation of the government by phantom ministries would weaken the government.”

And he added, “This is why I insisted that Blue and White (the party led by Gantz) not have meaningless ministries such as the Ministry of Digital, Higher Education or Water. I thought at the time it was a mistake, but now it has become a real government danger.”

Gantz pointed out that “the third and dangerous dimension of the agreement is in the field of national security.”

He said, “Netanyahu knows that national security is the sum of the state’s capabilities: security, army, diplomacy, law, economy and society.”

He added, “Whatever the matter is, national security with its components is responsible for one person, who is the prime minister, who is responsible for the synchronization of all national efforts.”

“One cannot help but see Netanyahu’s move as an admission that the real prime minister will be Ben Gvir,” the defense minister continued.

** The development of the Negev and the Galilee and heritage
The agreement between the “Likud” and the “Jewish Power” does not stop at the powers of the Ministry of National Security, as the party receives the bags of developing the Negev and the Galilee and heritage.

The “Times of Israel” website said: “The Ministry of the Negev and the Galilee will be headed by Isaac Wasserlov, and Amichai Eliyahu will take over the heritage portfolio.”

He added, “The Ministry of Development of the Negev and the Galilee will receive an annual budget of 2 billion shekels (about $584 million) and will also be responsible for implementing the organization of new settlements in the West Bank.”

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said that the large gains obtained by Ben Gvir will make it difficult for the Likud to negotiate with other parties, including religious ones such as Shas and United Torah Judaism, and right-wing nationalists such as religious Zionism, which raises the ceiling of its demands.

The Likud party is waiting for the end of the negotiations with the partner parties before Netanyahu determines the bags that will be distributed among the party leaders.

On November 9, Israeli President Isaac Herzog tasked Netanyahu with forming a government.

In order to gain the confidence of the Knesset, Netanyahu needs at least 61 votes out of the 120 Knesset seats.

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