Israeli military forces have launched special security measures in Judea and Samaria in response to the ongoing wave of Palestinian Authority Arab terrorism aimed at Israelis, the Prime Minister’s Office announced late Friday.
The statement came in response to one by the US State Department condemning remarks by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, emphasizing that the right to life without terror takes precedence over freedom of movement by Palestinian Authority Arabs, when terrorists from that population abuse that right in order to murder Israelis.
“Israel allows maximum freedom of movement in Judea and Samaria for both Israelis and Palestinians.
“Unfortunately, Palestinian terrorists take advantage of this freedom of movement to murder Israeli women, children and families by ambushing them at certain points on different routes,” the PMO said.
Since the start of 2023, 34 civilians have been murdered by Palestinian Authority terrorists, “many of them while driving home,” the PMO noted.
The most recent incident occurred when Batsheva Nigari of Efrat was murdered on Highway 60 in Judea, in front of her six-year-old daughter. The man in whose car she was riding was seriously wounded in the same attack.
“In order to prevent these heinous murders, Israel’s security forces have implemented special security measures in these areas,” the PMO said, noting “This is what National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir meant when he said, ‘the right to life precedes freedom of movement.’”
The PMO added that Israel will “continue its policy of maintaining security while affording freedom of movement for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
The statement came in response to one by the US State Department earlier Friday condemning Ben-Gvir’s comment that the safety of his family takes precedence over freedom of movement for Palestinian Authority Arabs.
“My right, my wife’s right, my children’s right to travel on the roads of Judea and Samaria is more important that Arabs’ freedom of movement,” Ben-Gvir told reporters on Wednesday following the deadly attack that killed Batsheva Nigri.
“Sorry Mohammad,” he added in a comment to Arab-Israeli journalist Mohammad Magadli. “That’s the reality; that’s the truth. My right to life precedes the right to movement.”
The next day, Ben-Gvir tweeted a clarification.
This is how fake news is spread: I said yesterday on a TV broadcast that the right of Jews to live and not be murdered in terror attacks prevails over the right of Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel on the roads without security restrictions. That is why checkpoints should be… pic.twitter.com/St9hXpqoIj
— איתמר בן גביר (@itamarbengvir) August 24, 2023
“This is how fake news is spread: I said yesterday on a TV broadcast that the right of Jews to live and not be murdered in terror attacks prevails over the right of Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel on the roads without security restrictions. That is why checkpoints should be placed on roads where regular terrorism and shooting by Jihadists are committed against Jews. But the Israeli radical Left selectively cut a section out of my statement, purposefully misquoted even that, and removed the context in order to slander me as if I had made a racist declaration that Jews deserve more civil rights than Arabs.
“I said yesterday on a TV broadcast that the right of Jews to live and not be murdered in terror attacks prevails over the right of Arabs in Judea and Samaria to travel on the roads without security restrictions,” he wrote in the tweet. That is why checkpoints should be placed on roads where regular terrorism and shooting by Jihadists are committed against Jews.”
Nevertheless, the US was quick to condemn Ben-Gvir’s remarks.
“We strongly condemn Minister Ben-Gvir’s inflammatory comments on the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents of the West Bank,” said a spokesperson for the State Department.
“We condemn all racist rhetoric as such messages are particularly damaging when amplified by those in leadership positions . . . [such remarks] are incongruent with advancing respect for human rights for all,” the spokesperson added.
Ben-Gvir also responded to the American condemnation, saying his comments had been misunderstood, and that he was referring to the Jewish residents’ right to protection from terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria.
“Not only do I not regret my words – I am saying them again,” Ben-Gvir declared. “The right to life takes precedence over the right to freedom of movement.”