PA planning diplomatic blitz to sound the alarm on Smotrich, Ben-Gvir

Palestinian embassies and diplomatic missions around the world will also join the effort to raise awareness about the “dangerous repercussions” of appointing Smotrich and Ben-Gvir to key posts.

 Head of the National Union party MK Betzalel Smotrich and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir attend Otzma Yehudit party's election campaign event in Bat Yam on April 06, 2019.  (photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)
Head of the National Union party MK Betzalel Smotrich and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir attend Otzma Yehudit party's election campaign event in Bat Yam on April 06, 2019.
(photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)

The Palestinian Authority is planning a worldwide diplomatic blitz in the coming days to explain the “dangers” of the far-right Religious Zionism Party and its leaders, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir.

As part of the campaign, senior PA officials will meet with Western diplomats and officials based in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and share with them the Palestinians’ deep concern over the inclusion of Smotrich and Ben-Gvir in the new government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, said a Palestinian official in Ramallah.

The PA officials will include Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh, Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul and Palestinian National Council Speaker Rawhi Fattouh, the official said.

Some of the officials have already begun holding meetings in Ramallah with diplomats to present their views on the composition of the new right-wing coalition and the return of Netanyahu to power. 

Palestinian embassies and diplomatic missions around the world will also join the effort to raise awareness about the “dangerous repercussions” of the appointment of Smotrich and Ben-Gvir to key positions in the government in particular and the formation of an “extremist and racist” coalition in Israel, the official told The Jerusalem Post, noting that the Palestinians have diplomats in more than 100 countries.

 Head of the Otzma Yehudit Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks to supporters as the results of the Israeli elections are announced, at the party's campaign headquarters in Jerusalem, November 1, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Head of the Otzma Yehudit Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks to supporters as the results of the Israeli elections are announced, at the party's campaign headquarters in Jerusalem, November 1, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Palestinian diplomats will be provided with material from various sources, including the Israeli media, on the two Israeli politicians, their party’s ideology and previous statements they made regarding the Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel, according to the official.

“Our goal will be to explain to the world that these two men and the new [Israeli] government are extremists and racists who will cause huge damage to Israelis and Palestinians and stoke up the tension that already exists between us.”

Palestinian official

“Our goal will be to explain to the world that these two men and the new [Israeli] government are extremists and racists who will cause huge damage to Israelis and Palestinians and stoke up the tension that already exists between us,” the official said. “I believe our mission will not be difficult, especially in light of the fact that many people around the world have already expressed concern over the rise of the extreme right-wing parties in the last Israeli election.”

What is the Palestinian Authority worried about?

The PA is particularly worried that the new government would work toward changing the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound/Temple Mount in Jerusalem and stepping up IDF security crackdown on the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Messages warning about the anticipated Israeli measures have been relayed to US, EU and Arab officials over the past few days, another Palestinian official told the Post.

On Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community to treat Smotrich and Ben-Gvir as “racists” and “fascists.”

The ministry said that it considers the election of the two men as a “clear threat to the prospects of achieving peace on the basis of the two-state solution, international legitimacy resolutions, and the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative.”

The ministry urged the international community to “reject and denounce Israeli fascism as represented by Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.”