Palestinians warn Israel of the minister’s planned visit
The Palestinian Authority issued a warning to Israel over news of a possible visit by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also criticized the plans as “provocative”.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said that Israel’s repeated threats to the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque “will have dire consequences for everyone.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in the world for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two synagogues in ancient times.
East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move not recognized by the international community.
Abu Rudeineh also warned that if the United States failed to pressure Israeli leaders to stop their provocations, the situation could “spin out of control”.
If confirmed, it will be Ben Gvir’s first trip to the Al-Aqsa compound since joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government last week.
Ben Gvir holds extreme right-wing views on the Palestinians and has called for their expulsion. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
The extreme right-wing politician also caused a wave of escalation in the occupied city after establishing an office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Last November, President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio recording that “the whole world is concerned” about Ben Gvir’s extremist views.
Lapid criticizes Ben Juffair’s plans
Former Israeli Prime Minister Lapid on Monday criticized a planned visit by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, calling it a “deliberate provocation.”
“Itamar Ben Gvir should not ascend the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque complex),” Lapid said on Twitter, warning that the move would lead to “a deliberate provocation that endangers and reaps lives.”
Lapid called on current Prime Minister Netanyahu not to allow Ben Gvir to go ahead with his visit.
Israel’s public broadcaster KAN reported earlier that Ben Gvir’s office had notified police of its plans to visit the flaming site on Tuesday or Wednesday.