Ben Gvir and Netanyahu
Ben Gvir and NetanyahuYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Sunday evening to delay the worsening of the conditions of terrorists imprisoned in Israel, contrary to the opinion of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

The two had met face to face in the afternoon and Ben Gvir explained to Netanyahu the importance of taking the step at this time.

Netanyahu, however, rejected Minister Ben Gvir’s request and informed him that he had chosen to contact the Attorney General to get an interpretation of the law and decide on the issue.

At the meeting, which was attended by Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Ben Gvir, the IDF Chief of Staff and the head of the Shin Bet, Minister Gallant expressed anger over the fact that the issue was even brought up for discussion. "It is inconceivable that, after a decision was made on Thursday and it was agreed to hold a discussion regarding the prisoners, Minister Ben Gvir makes an independent decision."

Ben Gvir replied, "This is a law we are enforcing. You go about your business, I'll go about mine, don't meddle in my ministry." Minister Gallant then said, "Judea and Samaria is not under your authority." Ben Gvir answered, "I have responsibility for the safety of the lives of Jews and you will not interfere in my ministry.Prisoners are not your responsibility.You always bring up the Temple Mount and prisoners.Every time it is forbidden to touch the prisoners because it can cause agitation, so their conditions must never be changed.They are sacred cows.Mr. Prime Minister, they have better conditions than the hotel you just stayed in."

The head of the Shin Bet warned that "there are those who want a violation of the status quo and there are those who will have to respond in such a case.Provocations are expected in the Arab sector and it will also be more convenient for the Prime Minister while he is in the US without the status quo here changing."

The Chief of Staff added, "There is a lot of gasoline on the floor. We have to remove the matches.Civilian lives are more important than changing the conditions of people who are already in prisons.Regarding the prisoners, it would be right to discuss it after the holidays because of that."

Minister Ben Gvir did not agree with them and said, "Civilian lives come first and that's precisely why the conditions of the terrorists need to be changed. The terrorists in the prisons are returning to carrying out attacks. The concept failed - the emperor has no clothes. When they're in [the prisons], it's not bad for them and it pays to go back to murdering. Every time you say ‘it's not the time [to change the conditions of the terrorist prisoners]’ and now of course it's probably not the time, give me one more time when you said ‘now is a good time to do it’. People are being murdered here and you never said it was time [to change the conditions of the terrorist prisoners]."

The Government Secretary replied, "There is an Attorney General, let's go to her." Ben Gvir told him, "This is the first time I've heard that you want the Attorney General to decide. A vision of the end of time."

The Government Secretary replied, "We'll see if the Attorney General says that this law must be respected."

Ben Gvir turned to the Prime Minister and said, "Mr. Prime MInister, you cannot break the law, I cannot either, we are not above the law."

Ben Gvir's office said in response, "Contrary to the briefings from the Prime Minister's Office, the minister's decision was based on the order of the Prison Service Commission, which has the status of a valid and existing law. It was agreed in the discussion that the Prime Minister’s Office will turn to the Attorney General, who will decide on the dispute regarding prisoner visits, when the minister, as mentioned, based his decision to establish that the visits will be once every two months on the law."

The Prime Minister's Office issued a clarification in response which read, "The decision regarding security prisoners will be made exclusively by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet."