Far-right Israeli minister orders demolition of Palestinian homes during Ramadan

Itamar Ben-Gvir has frequently called for extreme policies against Palestinians, including the annexation of the entire West Bank

Palestinian children search for toys in the remains of their home in Jinba after it was demolished by Israeli bulldozers. AFP
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Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has ordered security forces to carry out the demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem during Ramadan, according to Israeli media reports.

Mr Ben-Gvir's call would go against a decision taken several years ago to prevent violence during the holy month.

It comes as many in the government are trying to ease tensions, following fighting between Palestinians and Israelis.

The order coincides with Mr Ben Gvir's attempt to pressure on the rest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to launch an anti-terror campaign that he has called Defensive Shield Two.

The term is a reference to the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, which was launched to end terror attacks during the Second Intifada.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Mr Ben-Gvir's Ramadan demolitions would further inflame already high tensions.

Last week, settlers burnt businesses and homes the Palestinian town of Hawara in response to the killing of two Israeli settlers. One Palestinian was killed and dozens were injured.

Mr Ben-Gvir has frequently pushed for a harsher Israeli response to Palestinian crime and terrorism, often against the recommendations of Israeli security officials.

He recently ordered the closure of prisoner-run bakeries for Palestinians in Israeli jails, saying: “How can they get fresh bread every day? What is this absurdity?”

He later released a video of him eating bread in his office, saying: “Terrorists should receive freshly baked goods. I hope that what we have done is only the beginning of the beginning to stop the [summer] camps in prisons.”

He also ordered the length of time Palestinian prisoners spend showering to be reduced to four minutes.

Updated: March 06, 2023, 1:58 PM