Israeli so-called ‘National Security’ Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir provocatively visited Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, as hundreds of Zionist settlers made similar moves at the holy compound on the Jewish occasion of the so-called “Tisha B’Av”.
“This place – this is the most important place for the people of Israel – where we have to return to show our governance,” Ben-Gvir said as quoted by The Jerusalem Post.
According to Hebrew-language media reports, some 1,000 Zionists had toured the site by 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Watch: Colonial Israeli settlers sing and dance in the courtyards of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while being backed by well-armed Israeli occupation forces, this morning, marking the so-called Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av. pic.twitter.com/TQm9uJfhmX
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) July 27, 2023
Negev and the Galilee Development Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, a member of Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party, and Likud MK Amit Halevi also ascended Al-Aqsa Mosque under tight security.
The provocations at Islam’s third holiest site drew fury among Palestinians and Jordan.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry charged Ben Gvir’s visit was part of “an official Israeli cover for the ongoing invasions and the plans to Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to impose forced changes on the existing historical and legal reality, as an inseparable part of the Judaization of Jerusalem.”
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem called the visit a “dangerous escalation” and a “provocation” to the Palestinian people, vowing that they would not allow the Zionist occupation to carry out its plans at the site.
“Our people will defend the identity of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and protect its Islamic and Arab character at all costs, because Al-Aqsa has always been the trigger for revolutions and rebellions,” the statement read.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry warned that unilateral measures by occupation authorities at the holy site and violations of the status quo “threaten to escalate the situation into more rounds of violence.”
دانت #وزارة_الخارجية_وشؤون_المغتربين إقدام وزير الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي، صباح اليوم، على اقتحام المسجد #الأقصى المبارك/ #الحرم_القدسي_الشريف، وحذرت كذلك من التبعات الخطيرة للسماح للمتطرفين باقتحام المسجد الأقصى المبارك/ الحرم القدسي الشريف وممارساتهم الاستفزازية تحت حماية شرطة… pic.twitter.com/BQe9SmZjfu
— وزارة الخارجية وشؤون المغتربين الأردنية (@ForeignMinistry) July 27, 2023
“We warn against the dangerous consequences of allowing the extremists to reach the mount and allow them to carry out provocations,” the ministry added.
Under the status quo, an arrangement that has prevailed for decades in cooperation with Jordan, Jews and other non-Muslims are permitted to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque during certain hours but may not pray there.
In recent years, far-right Jews, including members of the new governing coalition, have increasingly making provocative visits to the site, infuriating the Palestinians and Muslims around the world.
Thursday’s tour was Ben Gvir’s third visit to the site while serving as a cabinet minister.
Source: Israeli and Palestinian media