Far right Israeli minister enters Al Aqsa compound as a provocation

Far-right Israeli minister enters Al-Aqsa compound as a provocation


Far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has entered the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque in a move Palestinians are calling an “unprecedented provocation.”

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has entered the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, in a move that has threatened a backlash from Palestinians, who have described the act as an “unprecedented provocation”. to have.

Ben-Gvir was seen amid tight security on Tuesday touring the site.

“Our government will not surrender to Hamas’ threats,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement released by his spokesman, after the Palestinian group that rules the besieged Gaza Strip warned that such a move would be a “red line.” .

Israel’s opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid had warned that such a visit by Ben-Gvir would spark violence.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist minister Ben-Gvir and regards it as an unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict.”

Ben-Gvir was sworn in last week as part of a new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes far-right and religious parties.

Under the status quo, only Muslim worship is permitted on the site, Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. The Israeli far-right has tried to change this, allowing Jewish prayer at the site despite opposition from many ultra-Orthodox Jews and a ban by leading rabbis.

Palestinians fear it could result in a change in the status quo, as far-right Israelis have called for a Jewish temple to be built on the site over the remains of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu negotiated with Ben-Gvir after it was revealed he was planning to enter the compound.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s entry into the compound in 2000 sparked the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Ben-Gvir’s stated intention to enter the compound earlier this week drew threats from Hamas.

“Any escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque will explode the situation and the occupation government will be responsible,” Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua said in a statement released Monday.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their expulsion. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The far-right politician also sparked a wave of escalation in the occupied city after setting up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Palestinians are facing mass displacement.

Ben-Gvir, a settler in Kiryat Araba, one of the most radical settlements in the occupied West Bank (illegal under international law), was charged with inciting racism, destroying property, possessing propaganda material from a “terrorist” organization and supporting a ” Terror” organization – Meir Kahane’s banned Kach group, which he joined when he was 16.

Last November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in leaked audio that “the whole world is concerned” about Ben-Gvir’s views.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials and witnesses said. There was no immediate comment on the incident from the Israeli army.