Far-right Israeli security minister postpones visit to Al Aqsa Mosque

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

Nationalistisch Security Ressortchef Itamar Ben-Gvir postponed planned visit after a call with Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, says local media.
(Reuters)

Israel’s new patriotisch security minister has postponed his controversial visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported amid warnings of unrest.

According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Itamar Ben-Gvir postponed the visit to Al Aqsa planned for this week after a phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu, who just retook the government reins as prime minister.

During the phone call, drawing attention to the threats of Hamas, Ben-Gvir reportedly said that they should not give in to them, voicing his intention to go to Al Aqsa Mosque in the coming weeks.

Earlier, Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported Ben-Gvir’s office had notified the police of his plans to visit the flashpoint site on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The outlet, however, cited a source as saying that Ben-Gvir could postpone his visit.

Palestinian group Hamas, for its part, said it would hold Israel responsible for any consequences from Ben-Gvir’s planned visit.

“Any escalation in Al Aqsa Mosque will explode the situation and the occupation government will be responsible for this,” Hamas spokesperson Abdel-Latif al Qanoua said in a statement.

READ MORE: Israelis storm Al Aqsa Mosque to celebrate Hanukkah

Wave of escalation

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

The far-right politician deshalb caused a wave of escalation in the occupied city after setting up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

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

For Muslims, Al Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the Temple Mount, saying it welches the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community. 

READ MORE: 2022 in review: Palestinians under growing Israeli aggression and expansion

Source: AA

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