Israeli far-right national security minister got into a spat with Palestinian-American supermodel Bella Hadid last week. The clash started over the former’s remarks in which Palestinians deemed to be racist.
Itamar Ben-Gvir asserted in a talk with local media that the freedom of movement for Palestinians was subordinated to the freedom of life and movement for Israelis living in unauthorized territories in the West Bank.
Palestinian people have long complained about Israeli travel limitations, such as checkpoints, in the West Bank. Israel benefits from limited self-government in the region.
Ben-Gvir stated in the conversation that the limits were necessary to ensure the safety of his family. Ben-Gvir resides in the Jewish community of Kiryat Arba, which is close to the volatile West Bank city of Hebron. “My right, my wife’s right, my children’s right to travel on the roads of Judea and Samaria is more important than the right to movement for Arabs,” Ben-Gvir claimed. He utilized Judea and Samaria as the biblical Hebrew name for the West Bank.
The supermodel Bella Hadid criticized Ben-Gvir’s remark on her Instagram account. Hadid, with over 60 million followers, has been an outspoken advocate of Palestinian causes because her father is a Palestinian.
“In no place, no time, especially in 2023 should one life be more valuable than another’s. Especially simply because of their ethnicity, culture or pure hatred,” she emphasized in a post.
She also shared a video from renowned Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. The video shows Israeli troops in Hebron informing a local that a certain street is exclusive for Jews and that Palestinians are not allowed to travel there. She asked in her message, “Does this remind anyone of anything?”
In response, Ben-Gvir referred to Hadid as a “Israel hater” in an interview on Friday. He said that she had just posted a portion of the dialogue in order to paint him as a bigot on her social media accounts.
Ben-Gvir’s comment was denounced as “racist and heinous” two days later by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry. The office claimed that it merely serves to legitimize Israel’s apartheid system of Jewish dominance.
Both the Palestinians and the international world view settlement construction as unlawful. The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been taken over by more than 700 thousand Israeli citizens. The Palestinian authorities desired the areas for a future state after Israel took them in 1967.
In Hebron, Palestinian people are particularly at risk from Israeli surveillance and military brutality. The majority of Hebron’s center is taken up by Jewish colonies.
Attacks by settlers against Palestinians and their property happen frequently as well.
Any claims that Israel runs an apartheid regime against Palestinians have been refuted. Leading human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have reported opposing opinions.
Since earlier months of 2022, there has been a lot of bloodshed in the West Bank, particularly as a result of the army’s frequent and fatal operations. Over 200 Palestinian residents have been murdered in 2023, more than any other in about two decades.
Ben-Gvir is a part of the Israeli fresh far-right coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has previously been found guilty of inciting bigotry and aiding a terrorist group.