Israeli minister on the esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem: a “provocative visit”, denounces the United States

The United States denounced on Sunday the “provocative visit” of a far-right Israeli minister on the esplanade of the Mosques. This place is called the Temple Mount by the Jews and is located in East Jerusalem, occupied and annexed by Israel.

The US government is “concerned about the provocative visit” by Homeland Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Matthew Miller, spokesman for the State Department, the US equivalent of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement. . “This sacred space should not be used for political purposes and we call on all parties to respect its sanctity,” he added.

This visit by the sulphurous Itamar Ben Gvir comes a few days after “Jerusalem Day” marking the “reunification” of the city after the conquest of East Jerusalem by Israel in 1967. No incident marred his visit when he was escorted by police. “Threats from Hamas (Editor’s note: an Islamist terrorist movement) will not deter us. I went to the Temple Mount. Jerusalem is our soul,” the minister wrote on Telegram messaging, accompanying the text with a photograph of his visit.

Charged 50 times for inciting violence or hate speech

Hamas, in power in the Palestinian area of ​​the Gaza Strip, had denounced the previous visit in January of Ben Gvir at the site, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism. Leader of the far-right Jewish Force party, Ben Gvir was charged more than 50 times as a youth for incitement to violence or hate speech. He was convicted in 2007 of supporting a terrorist group and inciting racism.

The Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem.  LP/Infographic
The Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. LP/Infographic

“To attack the Al-Aqsa mosque is to play with fire,” reacted the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas also denounced the visit, warning that Israel would “bear responsibility for the barbaric incursions of its ministers and herds of settlers”. This decision “confirms the magnitude of the danger that threatens Al-Aqsa under this fascist Zionist government and the arrogance of its far-right ministers. »

“A desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”

Under a status quo decreed after Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem in 1967, non-Muslims can go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque at specific times without praying there, a rule less and less followed by some Jewish nationalists. Although the place is administered by Jordan, its access is controlled by the Israeli security forces. “The Israeli national security minister’s invasion of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the violation of its sanctity is a provocative measure” and “a dangerous and unacceptable escalation”, said the spokesperson for the Jordanian ministry. Foreign Affairs in a statement. Jordan’s Islamic Affairs Council called Ben-Gvir’s visit a “flagrant storming and desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

In this tense environment, the weekly meeting of the Israeli cabinet was held on Sunday at midday in an exceptional way in the tunnels along the Western Wall, the holiest site of prayer for Jews. “Time and time again, my friends and I have been forced to fend off international pressure from those who would divide Jerusalem again,” he said. Some Israeli leaders “were ready to give in to these pressures,” he argued, but “we acted differently,” according to a statement from his office.

The government, from elections last november, is one of the most right-wing in the history of Israel, with members of the extreme right in its ranks who do not hide their racist positions towards the Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has already claimed nearly 200 lives since January 1, including 35 during a new five-day war between the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip, from May 9 to 13 .

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