Israel's Far-Right Security Minister Ben-Gvir Visits Temple Mount For 2nd Time In 2023

TEL AVIV (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st May, 2023) Far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who advocates a tougher stance on the Palestinian Authority, said he visited Temple Mount, the third-holiest place in islam, on Sunday for the second time since the beginning of 2023.

He last visited the Temple Mount in early January, drawing backlash from Palestinians and Arab countries.

"Hamas's threats will not deter us, I went up to the Temple Mount! Jerusalem is our soul, the Negev and Galilee are our life force, and we must work for all of this," Ben-Gvir said on Telegram alongside a photo of himself at the holy site.

As he toured the site, the minister said he was happy to visit the Temple Mount, "the most important place for the Israeli people." He also praised the Israeli police for ensuring safety of Jewish pilgrimages to the holy site, which he said "proves who is in charge in Jerusalem."

Later on Sunday, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called Ben-Gvir's visit to the Temple Mount an "incursion," which "will not change the reality and will not impose Israeli sovereignty over it," Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

"Attempts by Itamar Ben-Gvir and his likes of extremists to change the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque are condemned and rejected and will fail," Rudeineh was quoted as saying by the media.

Ben-Gvir's visit necessitates immediate reaction from the global community, including the US administration, to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem, he added.

Recently, trips by right-wing Israeli officials to Temple Mount, which is considered the holiest site in Judaism, have sparked confrontations as Palestinians see the visits as part of an effort to extend Israeli control.

At the same time, an official of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in early January that the leader is committed to protecting the status quo at Temple Mount under an arrangement supposing that the site will remain open to visitors, though only Muslims can pray there.