All Israel

After ‘Palestine’ recognition, Smotrich calls for more settlements and halts PA funds, Ben Gvir ascends Temple Mount

Right-wing firebrands demand concrete steps against Palestinian Authority

Knesset Members Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben Gvir and Knesset members from the Religious Zionism party visit at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem Old city on Oct. 20, 2021 (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

After the leaders of Norway, Ireland, and Spain announced their intention to recognize a Palestinian state beginning May 28, right-wing firebrand national security minister and finance minister excoriated the decision and called for Israel to retaliate.

In a video statement, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said, “The countries that recognized a Palestinian state today are rewarding [Hamas’ elite] Nukhba, murderers and abusers, and I say: We will not allow even a declaration of a Palestinian state.”

Ben Gvir spoke in front of the Dome of the Rock, after ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning for the first time since the war began last October.

“To destroy Hamas, you have to go into Rafah all the way, treat it at the source. To return our abductees, we need to stop the fuel, and establish that humanitarian gestures will only follow humanitarian gestures,” Ben Gvir noted, adding, “and control this place, the most important place.”

In protest over what he termed the “Irish-Norwegian folly,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz ordered the recall of the Israeli ambassadors to the three countries and summoned their ambassadors for “severe reprimands.”

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also serves in the Ministry of Defense, demanded an “immediate response" that would "exact a significant price from the Palestinian Authority,” and proposed his solution in a lengthy statement.

Smotrich called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement six steps to “punish the PA for its unilateral actions against Israel, including its pursuit of unilateral recognition … and the legal battle it is waging against the State of Israel in the courts in The Hague to bring the war to a halt.”

The finance minister outlined several proposed measures against the Palestinian Authority (PA), including the termination of the Norway trust fund plan - a mechanism to ensure that funds collected by Israel on behalf of the PA, which have so far been frozen, would only be used in the West Bank and not reach Gaza.

Under the U.S.-supported arrangement, Israel transfers the funding to Norway, which then sends it to the PA, only with the express permission of the Israeli government.

“Norway was the first to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state today and it cannot be a partner in anything related to Judea and Samaria,” Smotrich explained, referring to the West Bank.

Smotrich added that he had halted the transfer of funds to the PA and would not renew the indemnity granted to Israeli banks that facilitate fund transfers to banks in the West Bank.

Beyond that, the finance minister urged the Israeli government to cancel special travel privileges for PA officials and their families and to impose additional economic sanctions on them.

As chairman of the Religious Zionism party, Smotrich proposed several steps to strengthen the settlement in Judea and Samaria, including the approval of 10,000 new housing units and advancing additional funds for the settlements.

“The settlement is Israel’s protector and as part of the lessons of the 7th of October, it must be strong and Zionist so that Kfar Saba does not become Kfar Aza, God forbid,” he said.

As a retaliatory measure, Smotrich called for the immediate approval to construct a new Israeli settlement for each nation that recognizes a Palestinian state.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories