Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed US President Joe Biden for his criticism of settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
"President Biden must internalize that Israel is no longer another star in the American flag," Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter.
Biden said in an interview with CNN on Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government has some “of the most extreme members” he has seen in Israel.
“It's not all Israel's problem [in the West Bank], but they are part of the problem … particularly those individuals in the cabinet who say …[Palestinians] have no right to be here,” Biden said.
Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich are staunch supporters of settlement expansion in the West Bank.
"In what way am I an extremist? By handing out weapons to the citizens of Israel so that they can defend themselves? In that I give full backing to our soldiers and officers?" Ben-Gvir said.
"I invite Biden to tour Jerusalem and Hebron to see that our extremism is extreme, immense love for the State of Israel," he added.
Ben-Gvir has in several occasions called for expanding Jewish settlements and for erecting settlement outposts all over the West Bank hilltops.
Last month, the Israeli government passed a decision that practically gave Smotrich all control over planning approval for settlement building in the West Bank.
Estimates indicate that about 700,000 settlers are living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.
*Writing by Ahmed AsmarAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.