Right-wing Israeli minister calls for Gaza port


(JTA)— A right-wing Israeli minister spoke out against “shameful” conditions Palestinians experience at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the Jewish Home party who advocates for Jews having greater access to the Temple Mount, said Friday that the current conditions are a “disgrace to the State of Israel and to the security establishment,” the Times of Israel reported.

A former leader with the Yesha Council, the primary advocacy group for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, Ariel has been a longtime supporter of settlement construction and in 2012 settler group Matot Arim named him the second-most right wing member of the Knesset.

In an interview on Tel Aviv Radio Friday morning, Ariel said Israel must do more to improve the well-being of Palestinians both in the West Bank and Gaza.

He said Gaza Palestinians are hurt by Israel not allowing the coastal enclave to have an international port, and West Bank Palestinians are often forced to wait at checkpoints for hours without shade, water or other shelter from harsh weather conditions.

“Why can’t we fix this? Why shouldn’t they have a port?” he asked, saying it could be created with “100 percent security.”

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