Argument over West Bank outpost reveals Israel's Cabinet's division
Argument over West Bank outpost reveals Israel's Cabinet's division

Jerusalem: A dispute over the destruction of a settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank has exposed cracks in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline government.

When he returned to power in December and took over the most right-wing government in Israeli history, Netanyahu vowed to increase settlements throughout the West Bank.

However, a rift over ground strategy was exposed last month when Israeli troops entered the northern West Bank to destroy a rogue outpost known as Or Haim on orders from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Also Read: Trump reclaims grip of his Instagram and Facebook accounts

Two far-right members of the Cabinet, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, opposed its demolition even though the state considers such outposts to be illegal.

Law is law, and there won't be different laws for Jews and Arabs. Ben-Gvir demanded the destruction of illegal Palestinian construction in the majority of the West Bank, which is under Israeli control on both a civil and security level.

Border police in the West Bank are under the control of Ben-Gvir, and Smotrich now also has responsibility for civil affairs in the Palestinian territory.

According to Netanyahu, settlements must be "coordinated in advance with the prime minister and security officials, which was not done in this case," in reference to the outpost incident. Netanyahu backed Gallant in this claim.

Also Read:  Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria resulted in over 20,000 deaths

The way the Or Haim outpost's demolition was handled suggests that there may be issues within the coalition, despite the fact that it only consisted of a few improvised structures.

Israel's state is at "very real risk," according to senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute Gideon Rahat.

Smotrich was occupying the second ministerial position established in the Defense Ministry when he said, "It's not normal to have two people who have parallel responsibilities when it comes to the use of force."

Smotrich abstained from a Cabinet meeting in protest at how the situation was handled. Two days after the initial evacuation, Israeli soldiers went back to the Or Haim site to evict settlers who were trying to redevelop the area. Rahat said, "While it seems like a minor issue that was resolved, it shouldn't have been there in the first place.

There are numerous similar outposts dispersed throughout the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, so the issue will inevitably come up again.

Also Read:  The German chancellor is constantly being "forced" to send military aid, the Ukrainian president acknowledged

International law considers all settlements in occupied territory illegal, but Israel makes a distinction between state-approved settlements, where an estimated 475,000 Israelis live, and wildcat outposts established without its consent.

Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News