Israel’s far-right State Security Minister Itamar Ben Gubir entered the compound housing the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The move threatens to provoke a backlash from the Palestinians, who called the act an “unprecedented provocation.”
Ben-Gvir was seen at the site Tuesday under heavy security.
After the Palestinian group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip warned that such a move would cross the “red line”, Ben-Gvir said in a statement released by his spokesman, “Our The government will not bow to the threat of Hamas,” he said.
Ben-Gvir has long called for greater Jewish access to the Holy Land, which Palestinians see as provocative and a possible precursor to Israel’s full control of the site. A major rabbi forbids Jews to pray in that place.
Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter after his visit: “This site is open to everyone. If Hamas thinks they will deter me by threatening me, they should understand that times have changed.” ‘ wrote.
. . . . . . . . . . You know you know us. pic.twitter.com/vgDYBYacJG
— Nyan Nyan (@itamarbengvir) January 3, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-serving Arabic spokesman Opir Gendelman released a video in which he said “the situation is perfectly calm” in the holy land after Ben Gubir’s departure.
The visit appears to have been calculated to avoid a direct conflict with the Palestinians, and came early in the morning, the day after Ben Gubir appeared to back off the plan, thereby deterring the Palestinians at the scene. I avoided gatherings.
However, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “strongly condemned the al-Aqsa mosque attack by extremist minister Ben Guvir, viewing it as an unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict.”
Israeli opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid warned on Monday that an invasion of Ben Gubir’s planned site would lead to violence, calling it a “deliberate provocation that endangers lives”. .
Ben-Gvir took office last week as part of the new far-right government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Guvir entered the Al-Aqsa compound. Palestinians say ‘unprecedented provocation’ – only Muslim worshipers allowed to enter premises⤵️
🔗: https://t.co/BUIBleFxqF pic.twitter.com/bZB6iZgBDi
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 3, 2023
Currently, only Muslims are allowed to worship at the site, which is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. The far right in Israel has tried to change this and allow Jewish worship, despite opposition from many ultra-Orthodox Jews and a ban by the leading rabbi.
Palestinians fear this will change the status quo at the site, as far-right Israelis are calling for a Jewish temple to be built there instead of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli media reported that Netanyahu was negotiating with Ben Gubir to stop his plans after it emerged that he was planning to enter the site.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s entry into the site in 2000 sparked a second Palestinian intifada or riot.
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Khairat, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said Ben-Gubir spent a short time at the facility “earlier this morning.”
“It’s not surprising because it’s a provocation especially between the Palestinians and the Islamic world,” Kairat said.
“[Ben-Gvir] Has overwhelming power over the police. [so it] This decision was not surprising [to enter the Al Aqsa compound] will happen very quickly.
“We expect a lot of tension from the Palestinians. Already security has been increased among the Israelis.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Ben Gubir’s entry into the site on Tuesday was “an attack on our holy land by the Zionist occupation and a continuation of the war on our Arab identity.” said.
“Our Palestinian people will continue to defend the Holy Land and the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.
Ben-Gvir’s stated intent to enter the site earlier this week drew threats from Hamas.
“Any escalation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will detonate the situation and the occupation government will be held accountable for this,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Al-Khanoua said in a statement released on Monday. ” he said.
Analyst Nasser Al-Hidmi told Al-Jazeera from Jerusalem, “The raid was a propaganda act to demonstrate the sovereignty of the occupying forces over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the new government was threatened by the Palestinian armed resistance movement. It was a stunt to prove that I wouldn’t give in,” he said. .
“There was an agreement [Ben-Gvir] And Netanyahu – argument – the raid will be carried out in this way to show sovereignty and at the same time to avoid provoking the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Al-Hidmi said.
“[The raid] The visit lasted 13 minutes when there were few Palestinians on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. All this is a manifestation of Ben-Guvir’s terror. “
Ben-Gvir has far-right views on Palestinians and calls for their eviction. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which has led to conflicts with Palestinians in the past.
Israeli forces stormed the facility in May 2021, leading to clashes with Palestinians and an Israeli attack on Gaza later that month.
Ben-Gvir also sparked a wave of escalation in occupied East Jerusalem after setting up an office in February in the Sheikh Jala district, where Palestinians are facing mass expulsions.
Ben-Gwir, a settler of Kiryat Alaba, one of the most right-wing settlements in the illegally occupied West Bank, which is not recognized under international law, has been accused of inciting racism, Convicted of vandalism, possession of propaganda for a “terrorist” organization. He joined Meir Kahane’s Illegal His Kach group when he was 16 years old.
Ben-Gvir was also famous for hanging a picture on the wall of Baruch Goldstein, the American-Israeli man who massacred 29 Palestinian worshipers at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994.
Last November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in leaked audio that “the whole world is concerned about Ben-Gubir’s views.”
Al-Hidmi said it expected “increased extremism and violations against the Palestinian people and their holy sites” next year.
“The armed groups in Hamas and Gaza are not interested in another confrontation with the occupation, but they are interested in mobilizing the West Bank. , which concerns the occupation.”
An Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank early Tuesday, according to Palestinian health officials and witnesses.There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the incident.
“Israeli troops have arrived in Bethlehem to make arrests in refugee camps. In the process, there have been many confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis, resulting in the death of a teenager who was shot in the chest. said Kairat.