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Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has entered the grounds of the Al Aqsa mosque, in a move Palestinians call “unprecedented provocation.”

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has entered the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem in a move that threatens a backlash from Palestinians who have called the act an “unprecedented provocation.” called.

Ben-Gvir was seen on site under heavy security on Tuesday.

Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid had warned that such a visit by Ben-Gvir would lead to violence.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist minister Ben-Gvir and considers it an unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict.”

Ben-Gvir was sworn in last week as part of a new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu that includes far-right and religious parties.

On the grounds, Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, only Muslim worship is allowed under the status quo. Israel’s far right has tried to change this and allow Jewish prayer at the site, despite opposition from many ultra-Orthodox Jews and the ban from leading rabbis.

Palestinians fear this could lead to a change in the status quo, as far-right Israelis have called for a Jewish temple to be built on the site over the remains of the Al Aqsa mosque.

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu was negotiating with Ben-Gvir after it emerged that he intended to enter the site.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s entry to the site in 2000 sparked the Second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising.

The Palestinian group Hamas previously said it would hold Israel responsible for any consequences of Ben-Gvir’s planned visit.

“Any escalation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque will explode the situation and the occupying government will be responsible for it,” Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua said in a statement published Monday.

Ben-Gvir has far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The far-right politician also sparked a wave of escalation in the occupied city after setting up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah district.

Last November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that “the whole world is concerned” about Ben-Gvir’s views.





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