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Far-right MK pulls gun on alleged Palestinian rock-throwers in West Bank

Itamar Ben Gvir claims he was forced to intervene after IDF soldiers told him they were unable to open fire on Palestinians throwing rocks at cars

MK Itamar Ben Gvir in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on January 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Itamar Ben Gvir in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on January 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir pulled a gun on a group of Palestinians who were allegedly throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles traveling along Route 60 near the al-Aroub refugee camp in the West Bank, according to Hebrew media reports.

Ben Gvir tweeted that he “was forced to pull his weapon to drive away” rock-throwing Palestinians near al-Aroub until law enforcement officials could arrive.

There was no immediate confirmation from the military or the police.

The Religious Zionism MK claimed that he encountered “dozens of terrorists” who were throwing rocks at Jewish cars. Ben Gvir said that two IDF soldiers at the scene told him that they were not authorized to fire at the rock-throwers and were awaiting reinforcement.

“Didn’t we say that we changed the rules of opening fire? We must stop abandoning our soldiers!” Ben Gvir tweeted.

The MK was referring to a decision in December by the IDF allowing troops to shoot at Palestinians who had thrown rocks or firebombs at cars, even if the assailants no longer present an immediate threat. The IDF noted at the time that the military’s preferred outcome is still an arrest without shots being fired.

Illustrative: Palestinian protesters throw rocks at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Kobar, while an army bulldozer closes the main road to the area during an operation to prepare the home of a terrorist for demolition on July 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and some media reports indicated that the Palestinian rock throwers had begun to disperse before Ben Gvir drew his weapon.

The incident occurred less than a few hours after two police officers were wounded in a Jerusalem stabbing attack. The Palestinian attacker was shot dead.

Following that incident, Ben Gvir called for Police Chief Kobi Shabtai and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev to resign.

Ben Gvir is currently under investigation for an incident last year in which he pulled out a pistol during an altercation with Arab security guards over a parking spot.

He was questioned by police last month over the incident. Lawmakers from both coalition and opposition parties called for further investigation into the circumstances of the incident, with a focus on Ben Gvir’s suitability to have a gun permit.

Known for his anti-Arab rhetoric, Ben Gvir has had a number of run-ins with the law and with Arabs, including fellow lawmakers. Prior to entering the Knesset, the ultra-nationalist was a lawyer who represented Jewish terror suspects.

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