Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. Photo/I24News
TEL AVIV – Israel arrested five Palestinians in a plot allegedly carried out in Iran to target and spy on senior Israeli politicians, including Israel’s right-wing national security minister. This was revealed by Israel’s internal security agency.
The Shin Bet security service alleged that an Iranian security official living in neighboring Jordan had recruited three Palestinian men in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and two other Palestinians in Israel to gather intelligence on several prominent Israeli politicians.
The targets include National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir – an Israeli settler leader who oversaw the country’s police in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultranationalist government – as well as Yehuda Glick, an American-born Israeli right-wing activist and former member of parliament.
“The plan was thwarted by Israeli intelligence officials,” said Shin Bet, without providing evidence as reported by Al Arabiya, Thursday (27/9/2023).
Iran’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.
Ben-Gvir, who took inspiration from a racist rabbi, has sparked outrage across the Middle East for his hardline policies towards Palestinians, anti-Arab rhetoric and actions and frequent public visits to the Holy Land’s holiest and most contested sites. The hilltop complex in Jerusalem, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as a Holy Place, is at the center of the emotional Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Glick is a leader in the campaign pushing for increased Jewish access and prayer rights at the holy complex of Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism that is home to the ancient Biblical Temples. Today, the complex houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Since Israel seized the site in 1967, Jews have been allowed to visit but not pray there. Glick himself survived an assassination attempt by Palestinians in 2014.
The Shin Bet did not specify the identity of the Iranian official in Jordan who allegedly orchestrated the plan. He is not in custody and appears to remain at large.
But the Shin Bet accused three Palestinian men in the West Bank – identified as Murad Kamamaja (47), Hassan Mujarimah (34), and Ziad Shanti (45) – of gathering intelligence and smuggling weapons into Israel.