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Israel’s national security minister calls for “Defensive Shield 2” operation against Palestinian terrorists

Other Israeli officials pushed back, saying Ben Gvir has no authority to order the operation

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir at the scene of the deadly car-ramming attack near the Ramot Junction, in Jerusalem, Feb. 10, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir told Israeli police on Friday to prepare for a major anti-terrorist operation to be conducted beginning on Sunday, according to various Israeli media reports.

Ben Gvir reportedly indicated that Israel intends to conduct what he called “Defensive Shield 2,” referencing a massive Israeli military operation that was carried out in 2002. Operation Defensive Shield took place during the Second Intifada, involving thousands of Israeli troops and lasted over a month.

Israeli government officials have noted, however, that the national security minister does not have the authority to announce such an extensive operation without the approval of the security cabinet.

One senior government official pushed back on Ben Gvir’s remarks, saying that “decisions of such a scale are not made in statements by one minister or another on a sidewalk at the scene of an attack.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid also criticized the national security minister’s statements: “No cabinet, no assessment of the situation, no coordination between the security forces. If it wasn't dangerous it would be ridiculous.”

In a tweet on Saturday evening Ben Gvir explained: "I am determined to implement Defensive Shield 2 in Jerusalem. To the information of the people briefing against me, the police does have the authority to destroy illegal houses, arrest more than 150 targets and raid their homes, stop the incitement in mosques, arrest tax evaders and many more. The cabinet meeting [on Sunday] is important and I will ask for additional things there, but sovereignty is very important and I will make sure that it is so."

Ben Gvir’s call for the large-scale operation came after recent deadly terrorist attacks took place in Jerusalem.

On Friday, two Israelis were killed, and several injured, by a Palestinian terrorist who rammed his car into a group of people waiting at a bus stop in Jerusalem.

Last week, seven Israelis were killed in a Jerusalem synagogue shooting, and three were injured. The incident was one of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel in recent years.

In response to the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Israelis to trust their government to take appropriate action: "I call on citizens not to take the law into their own hands, for that we have an army and police who receive instructions from the cabinet.”

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

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