The Palestinian Authority has issued a warning to Israel over reports that National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir may visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also criticized the plans as “provocative”.
Nabil Abu Rudayneh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said Israel’s repeated threats to the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque “will have serious repercussions for everyone.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most important place in the world for Muslims. Jews call this area the Temple Mount, saying that two Jewish temples stood here in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. He annexed the entire city in 1980, which was never recognized by the international community.
Abu Rudeineh also warned that if the US fails to pressure Israeli leaders to stop their provocations, the situation could “get out of hand.”
If confirmed, Ben-Gvir’s trip to the Al-Aqsa compound will be his first since joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government last week.
Ben-Gvir holds far-right views of the Palestinians and calls for their displacement. He repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming a mosque in East Jerusalem.
The far-right politician also sparked an escalation in the occupied city by opening an office in the Sheikh Jarrah area.
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 Gvir’s plans
Former Israeli Prime Minister Lapid on Monday called National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s planned visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem a “deliberate provocation.”
“Itamar Ben Gvir must not climb the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa mosque complex),” Lapid tweeted, warning that the move would result in “a deliberate provocation that endangers lives and will cost lives.”
Lapid urged current Prime Minister Netanyahu not to let Ben Gvir continue his visit.
Israeli public broadcaster KAN previously reported that Ben-Gvir’s office had notified police of his plans to visit the blaze on Tuesday or Wednesday.