The far-right Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, stormed Sunday the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to what the Israeli police announced, in a step that exacerbated tension in occupied East Jerusalem and was condemned by the Palestinians and Jordan.
Under strict security measures, the extremist Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, stormed the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, in a controversial move that heightened tension in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian News Agency, Wafa, reported that he arrived in the early morning hours at Al-Buraq Square, followed by dozens of settlers who stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate in successive groups, and “carried out provocative tours in its squares, received explanations about the structure, and performed Talmudic rituals in the eastern region.” In front of the Dome of the Rock.
Ben Gvir posted a picture of him on his Twitter account, saying: “Jerusalem is our soul.” He added, “I am happy to be on the Temple Mount, the most important place for the Israeli people. I must say that the police are doing a great job and proving once again who are the sovereigns here. All Hamas threats will not deter us, the owners of Jerusalem and all of the Land of Israel.”
Ben Gvir was prevented from storming Al-Aqsa last Thursday, when the Israelis celebrated the so-called “Jerusalem Day”, to celebrate the occupation of the eastern part of the city in 1967, but he participated in the “flag march” in the Old City, which witnessed bloody chants against the Palestinians.
On Sunday, the Palestinian presidency said that harming Al-Aqsa Mosque is “playing with fire” that pushes the region into a “religious war,” calling for “immediate” intervention from the international community and the US administration.
The “Hamas” movement also condemned, through its spokesman for the city of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hamadeh, “the barbaric incursion carried out by the Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, accompanied by a group of extremist settlers, into the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, this Sunday morning; an affirmation of the depth of the danger threatening Al-Aqsa in light of this crisis.” The fascist government and the arrogance of its far-right ministers.
“a provocative step and a dangerous escalation”
For its part, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs called on Israel to “immediately cease all practices and violations against the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and respect its sanctity.”
In a statement, it affirmed that “the continuous violations and attacks on Islamic and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem, in conjunction with the continuation of unilateral measures of settlement expansion and continuous incursions into the occupied Palestinian territories, warns of further escalation, and represents a dangerous trend that the international community must work to stop immediately.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Jews consider it the “Temple Mount”, their holiest religious place. The Israeli forces control the entrances to the mosque, which is administered by the Islamic Endowments Department of Jordan.
Ben Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa last January, which sparked Arab and Islamic condemnation, and he was accused more than fifty times of inciting violence or adopting hate speech in previous years. He was convicted in 2007 of supporting a terrorist group and incitement to racism.