Ben Gvir warns against ‘disaster’ of a hostage deal, slams ‘idiocy’ of war cabinet

T. Belman. The prisoners that Israel is agreeing to release, formerly lived in J&S. They will likely go back there.No one has suggested that they be exiled to Gaza.

As likely deal to free women and children nears, far-right minister points to release of Hamas leader Sinwar in 2011 Gilad Shalit deal as example of prisoner exchange ending badly

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir attends a National Security Committee meeting at the Knesset, November 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir slams a potential deal that would see hostages held by Hamas in Gaza exchanged for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons and warned that any such deal would end in “disaster.”

Speaking to Channel 14 on Tuesday, the minister, who heads the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, addressed the reports that Israel is close to finalizing a deal that would see some 50 people — most likely mothers and children — freed from Gaza, where they have been held for over six weeks along with some 190 others.

“I am very upset because they’re now talking about some kind of deal,” Ben Gvir, who is a security cabinet minister, told the news outlet. “I am disturbed because we are once again being divided and once again we are not being told the truth. And once again, we are being pushed to the side. The rumors are that the State of Israel is once again going to make a very, very big mistake in the style of the Shalit deal.”

“You remember that we released Gilad Shalit, we let out [Yahya] Sinwar and his friends and brought this trouble upon ourselves,” Ben Gvir added.

The deal referred to by Ben Gvir took place in 2011 and saw Israel release 1,027 security prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006 while serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Among those released in the deal were prominent Hamas members Husam Badran, who now serves as a spokesperson for the terror group in Qatar, and Yahya Sinwar who leads Hamas inside the Gaza Strip. Sinwar is thought to be a key mastermind of the October 7 onslaught in southern Israel in which at least 1,200 people were killed and some 240 were kidnapped.

Of those who were taken hostage on October 7, four have since been released by Hamas, and one other, Ori Megidish, was rescued by the IDF. An additional two hostages were found to have been killed by Hamas inside Gaza, and their bodies were recovered by the IDF during the ongoing ground offensive.

While the exact details of the potential hostage deal are unclear, some reports have stated that Israel will agree to a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of women and children, while others have suggested that in addition, Israel will release a limited number of Palestinian prisoners, also most likely women and minors.

Families of the Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza attend a rally calling for the children to be released outside the UNICEF headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 20, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

On Monday, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that “we’re closer than we’ve been before” to finalizing the deal. An Israeli official corroborated this statement to Channel 12 news on Tuesday morning.

After declaring to Channel 14 that the rumored deal “will bring us to disaster,” Ben Gvir criticized Israel’s war cabinet, which is made up of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister without a portfolio Benny Gantz, who joined the government early in the war in order to join the war cabinet. In addition, MK Gadi Eisenkot serves as an observer in the cabinet.

“There is another thing, and that’s the concept that guides the war cabinet… they talked about a deal of 80 [hostages], dropped it to 70, then dropped it to 50,” Ben Gvir said. “They said they wouldn’t let food enter, then after that, they said they wouldn’t let fuel enter, and now they have fuel.”

Ben Gvir also slammed the cabinet for the decision made last week to allow limited but regular fuel deliveries to enter the Strip for the first time since October 7.

“I’m asking how we can allow this. How can you send a drop of fuel into there when you know there is no Red Cross examining the babies, the children, the women? This is idiocy! It’s delusional! Sadly, Gantz and Eisenkot are leading the cabinet down bad paths,” he concluded.

Since the war cabinet’s formation, Ben Gvir and his far-right ally Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have called for the war cabinet to include additional ministers from within the coalition.

On Monday, Smotrich, who also serves as a minister within the Defense Ministry, demanded that the cabinet be expanded to include politicians “who have cried out for years against this conception, who demanded the elimination of Hamas, including the conquering of the Gaza Strip, in order to remove its threat to the State of Israel.”

Family members of hostages held in Gaza have spoken out against the far-right ministers and their attempts to pass policies that they believe could harm their loved ones in Gaza.

On Monday, several of the family members attended a Knesset National Security Committee session in which they begged Ben Gvir not to advance legislation that would allow terrorists to be subject to the death penalty.

The death penalty has only been imposed twice in the history of the Jewish state, the last time being the execution of Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann in 1962.

Speaking during the committee hearing, Gil Dickmann, a cousin of Carmel Gat who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, pleaded with Ben Gvir, whose Otzma Yehudit party is responsible for the legislation, and said that should it be passed, the hostages could be harmed further.

Israelis with family members held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza since October 7 attend a Knesset National Security Committee hearing, November 20, 2023. At center is Gil Dickmann, whose cousin Carmel Gat is one of the hostages. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“I asked you already last week and I begged you to stop. I begged you not to make any kind of hay out of us or our suffering,” Dickman said in tears. “If you see us, please remove this from the agenda.”

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

November 21, 2023 | 5 Comments »

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  1. A disastrous sequel to every Netanyahu previous catastrophes. Disengagement for which he voted four times. HAMAS was created out of that. The irrational Shalit “deal”. Several cease fires and gifts, …
    He is linked to two or more compromised generals. Gantz who is in coalition with an Islamic Party and Gallant that is his appointee by influence.
    The new surrender to Hamas is suicidal. Again our soldiers are sitting ducks and we all see a gigantic military failure. We already lost 364 soldiers..

  2. Ben-Gvir is right as usual but maybe lemonade can be made out of lemons if they inject the terrorists with tracking devices and assassinate them right away.

  3. This is a tragedy.

    However, there are family members of hostages that have their own issues that make them unable to understand the stakes involved, that the survival of all the Israeli people and the survival of the state of Israel is involved. For them, the only thing that matters is their loved one. If they have other emotional issues, they might even feel, they don’t care what happens to Israel as long as they get back their loved one.

    So while it is understandable that the families would put pressure on the government, the government is responsible to ALL THE PEOPLE. The government cannot make decisions dictated by people who are emotionally at the end of their ropes. Look at the photo above and you see a person at the limit of his coping capacity. This is not someone who should be dictating policy decisions, however much every one of us might empathize deeply with him.

    I empathize with Ben G’vir’s position. And it is troubling that there have been people in Israel who have been calling for the destruction of Hamas for a long time, who are not included in the war cabinet.

    I am very concerned also about the hostage deal. Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed “the less I say about it the better.” Meanwhile the US has loose lips and keeps reporting about the deal as if it’s happening already.

    I cannot imagine any hostage deal short of all the hostages being released for a cease fire. I also cannot imagine food and fuel being sent in to help out Hamas at this time.

    What precedent is there in the history of war for the nation that has been brutally attacked to send food and fuel to their attacker and give them time to re-arm?

    It seems like an insane idea to me. How can Israel win a war like this? These ideas must come directly from Hamas to the White House and then to the Israeli war cabinet. And Israel is supposed to give Hamas their entire Christmas list? And do they want more guided missiles perhaps? Or time to build another set of tunnels for storing more hostages?

    Why is Israel giving ANYTHING to these sick murderers and butchers?