Ahead of slated Palestinian prisoner release, Ben Gvir tells police to shut down celebrations

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai (left) meets with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (right) on November 23, 2023. (Courtesy)
Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai (left) meets with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir (right) on November 23, 2023. (Courtesy)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir holds an assessment with the police and prison services’ top commanders, ahead of the expected release of some 150 Palestinian prisoners as part of deal with Hamas to trade 50 Israeli hostages for a four-day fighting pause.

Ben Gvir instructs the head of Israel’s Prison Service, Katy Perry, to quash attempts to celebrate prisoner releases within incarceration facilities, according to a readout from Ben Gvir’s office.

Similarly, the national security minister tells Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai to use “an iron fist” against attempts to celebrate prisoner releases or support terrorism, Ben Gvir also tells Shabtai to up police presence in the expected homecoming destinations of released prisoners, for those being released within Israel’s Green Line.

In particular, Ben Gvir says the police can shut down celebrations in East Jerusalem, where the police have a substantial presence.

“My instructions are clear: there are to be no expressions of joy,” Ben Gvir says. “Expressions of joy are equivalent to backing terrorism, victory celebrations give backing to those human scum, for those Nazis.”

Up to 300 Palestinian prisoners, all women and minors who have not been convicted of murder, can be released if Hamas agrees to release more Israeli hostages, also all women and children, under the deal framework.

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