It was this Tuesday that according to a report by the jgtm website, Itamar Ben Gvir, a leader in the Israeli far-right Otzma Yehudit party, revealed his plans for Israel’s future government.
Ben Gvir declared at a party meeting held on November 2, hours after the announcement of the final results of the Israeli elections, that his party will form a coalition government with the elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Israel needs a comprehensive and strong state from the right, without excluding any party. The secularists have taken the country to hell, reconciled with the Arabs and terrorists and allowed the denigration of the sacred Jewish religion.” 46-year-old Ben Gvir said in the party meeting.
His controversial promises to exclude other parties from the government and his already-violent rhetoric towards Arabs in Israel signal a fundamental shift in Israel’s political trend from a democracy to a single-party dictatorship.
This is easily concluded from Ben Gvir’s words as he also noted that “I plan to expel the Arabs from our land. I hope that the Arabs will understand that leaving here is for their benefit and for the benefit of their children. It is not acceptable to kill Jews in our land and on other religions, and whoever remains here accepts our ownership over all the lands. In Israel, we will prevent the participation of Muslims and Arabs in the upcoming elections and we will enact a law in this regard.”
Regarding the idea of a two-state solution, Ben Gvir rejected any compromise and clearly asserted that “Israel will have only one state,” adding also that “the administration of Jerusalem must be in accordance with Israeli laws and the Jewish religion. Jerusalem is exclusively for the Jews, and other nationalities must leave it. I will carry out these tasks at any cost and will not negotiate with anyone about this.”
Will Arab countries welcome Bin Gvir?
The far-right politician the referred to Israel’s approach towards Arab countries and noted that in Israel’s future government, he “will respect normalization with the Arab countries and try to expand this circle to include other Arab countries. These relations must serve the Jewish people.” But this premise of continued normalization with Arab countries seems to never realize because everyone now knows how Ben Gvir is going to treat Arabs in Israel.
In this regard, it was in late October that United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed warned Netanyahu against including far-right lawmakers Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich in his government if the Likud leader is tasked with forming a coalition.
In a visit to Israel last month, bin Zayed warned that the inclusion of such extremist lawmakers in Netanyahu’s government risked upending ties with the UAE in addition to the Abraham Accords more broadly.
What is Washington’s stance?
With Ben Gvir gaining power in Israel’s new government, Tel Aviv should also fear losing ties with Washington. This is mainly because the Biden administration seems to be very tough on the idea of two-state solution, something that Ben Gvir rejected altogether in his November speech.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Department of State said in a statement on Saturday.
The Biden administration is therefore unlikely to engage with Ben-Gvir for his extremist ideas, and there is also a possibility that Washington decides to boycott Ben-Gvir, two U.S. officials said. ‘No official decision has been made yet, but if the Biden administration does boycott Ben-Gvir, it will mark an unprecedented development that would likely have negative consequences for the U.S.-Israeli relationship,” they also noted.