On the 21st, Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, entered Jerusalem’s Old City and visited the Temple Mount under tight police protection. The Temple Mount, known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, is a site of religious significance for both Islam and Judaism, making it a longstanding focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This marks Ben-Gvir’s second visit to this disputed area this year, once again triggering strong condemnation from Palestinians and Arab nations.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Ben-Gvir shared photos of his visit on Telegram and stated, “Hamas’s threats cannot stop us. I went to the Temple Mount!” Hamas had previously condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit to the site in January. In a video released by Ben-Gvir’s office, the far-right minister expressed his delight in visiting “the most important place for the Israeli people” and praised the presence of the police, stating that it demonstrated “who is in charge in Jerusalem.”
This action has sparked criticism from multiple sides. The spokesperson for the Palestinian Presidential Office, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, referred to Ben-Gvir’s visit as a “blatant attack” on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He emphasized that playing with fire would only lead to serious consequences, and the Palestinian side would closely monitor the situation. Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the move a “condemned act of provocation” and deemed it a dangerous and unacceptable escalation. Egypt also voiced its condemnation, urging Israeli authorities to immediately cease practices that could exacerbate the tense situation.
Just a few days ago, Israel’s celebration of “Jerusalem Day” sparked strong discontent among Palestinians. Israeli nationalists waving flags paraded through Jerusalem’s Old City, with some chanting anti-Arab slogans. Hundreds of Jewish individuals, including right-wing lawmakers, also visited the Temple Mount area.
Reports indicate that on the same day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a cabinet meeting near the Western Wall to commemorate “Jerusalem Day.” Saudi Arabia’s Middle East newspaper analyzed that Ben-Gvir’s previous unauthorized entry into the “Noble Sanctuary” in early January led to a severe escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now, by disregarding the consequences and once again trampling on this sacred site, it is believed that he intends to provoke another round of bloodshed. The evolving situation between Israel and Palestine remains a cause for concern.