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Hamas: Ben-Gvir’s ‘private militia’ plan lays bare Israel’s racist, fascist nature

Far-right Israeli minister of so-called national security Itamar Ben-Gvir arrives at a cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in the occupied al-Quds on April 2, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israeli plans for a controversial “national guard” sought by far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, saying the plan attests to the racist nature of the occupying Tel Aviv regime.

“Formation of a private and terrorist militia is a fairly dangerous move, and shows that Zionists are treading the path towards further escalation of animosity against the Palestinian nation,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement.

He added that the decision demonstrates that “racism” and “fascism” constitute an integral part of all behaviors and policies of the Tel Aviv regime.

“The step also shows that the notion of ​​ethnic cleansing still exists in the Zionist regime’s policies against the Palestinian nation,” Qassem said.

On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet (Knesset) authorized setting up a so-called "national guard", which human rights groups and Palestinians say will create “a private, armed militia” for Ben-Gvir.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that the Knesset approved the establishment of the force, but that a committee comprised of Israel’s existing security agencies would determine the guard’s authorities and whether it would be subordinate to the police or take orders directly from Ben-Gvir, as he demands. The committee has 90 days to make its recommendations.

A statement from Ben-Gvir’s office said the guard, which would operate under his ministry, would deal with “emergency scenarios, nationalistic crime, terror, and strengthening sovereignty.”

Israeli opposition figures have accused Ben-Gvir of wanting a new force to crack down on massive demonstrations against the controversial judicial overhaul plan.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid called the decision an “extremist fantasy of delusional people” and slammed a separate decision to cut budgets from other ministries “to fund Ben-Gvir’s private militia”.

“The priorities of the administration are ridiculous and despicable. The only thing that keeps it busy is running over democracy and promoting extreme fantasies of delusional people,” Lapid said on Twitter.

Israeli police chief Inspector-General Yaacov Shabtai also questioned the need for the force and warned that any separation of it from the police hierarchy “could prove most costly and even harm the security of the citizenry.”

“Why does Israel – which has an army, police, military intelligence, the Shin Bet, Mossad, National Security Council, Prisons Service, riot police, a SWAT team – need another national guard?” said Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List and chairman of the Arab-Jewish Hadash party in the Israeli parliament.

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