Israel’s far-right security minister visits the Temple Mount

JERUSALEM, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Despite all warnings, Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Because the Al-Aqsa Mosque is also located there, the minister’s visit is seen by many Palestinians as a huge provocation. In any case, there have been repeated clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants in the West Bank for a long time. Either way, Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government was sworn in. The Temple Mount is a holy place for devout Muslims and Jews alike and is still the scene of sometimes violent conflict.

The Ynet news site published photos showing Ben-Gvir in the compound surrounded by security guards. Israeli opposition leader and former prime minister Jair Lapid warned that such a visit would spark violence.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the visit in the strongest terms, calling it “the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the extremist minister” and an unprecedented provocation and dangerous escalation of the conflict.

The mosque sits atop one of the most controversial holy sites in the Middle East. The Jews call it the Temple Mount, it is their holiest place. It is the third holiest place for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. The two Jewish temples on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque were already destroyed in antiquity.

Only Muslim services are allowed on the grounds of the mosque, Jews are not allowed to pray there. Yet Jews continue to do so, violating Israeli and Muslim regulations. There is no indication that Ben-Gvir prayed there during his visit.

However, his decision risks exacerbating tensions. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there have been repeated clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians. According to Palestinian witnesses and doctors, soldiers shot dead a young Palestinian on Tuesday before Ben-Gvir’s visit. Initially, there was no comment from the Israeli army.

On Monday, the Israeli army said it killed two Palestinian militants in clashes near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. The clashes erupted after the demolition of the homes of two Palestinians killed by the army in September

Israel’s far-right security minister visits the Temple Mount

Source: Reuters

Photo symbol: Image of Walkerssk on Pixabay

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