- Far-right police minister: ‘Temple Mount is open to all’
- UAE, Chine search UN Safety Council assembly, doubtless on Thursday
- Netanyahu vows to make sure ‘establishment’ of holy websites
JERUSALEM, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Israel’s new far-right nationwide safety minister Itamar Ben-Gvir briefly visited Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a website additionally revered by Jews, angering the Palestinians and drawing a slew of condemnations.
“The Temple Mount is open to all,” Ben-Gvir mentioned on Twitter, utilizing the Jewish title for the location. Video footage confirmed him strolling on the periphery of the compound, surrounded by a heavy safety element and flanked by a fellow Orthodox Jew.
Though the go to on the flashpoint website handed with out incident, it risked growing frictions with Palestinians after a surge of violence within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution in 2022.
Diplomats mentioned each the United Arab Emirates and China requested the U.N. Safety Council to fulfill publicly to debate the problem, doubtless on Thursday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned he would search a Safety Council condemnation, a press release revealed by the Palestinian WAFA Information Company mentioned.
U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres “calls on all to chorus from steps that might escalate tensions in and across the holy websites,” U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq mentioned.
When requested concerning the go to, a White Home Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson mentioned any unilateral motion that jeopardizes the established order of Jerusalem holy websites is unacceptable.
In an obvious effort to decrease the temperature, an official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s workplace mentioned the premier was absolutely dedicated to the location’s decades-old establishment permitting solely Muslim worship there.
An Israeli official mentioned the 15-minute go to by Ben-Gvir, a senior member of Netanyahu’s new nationalist-religious cupboard, complied with an association that permits non-Muslims to go to however not pray.
Ben-Gvir as soon as advocated ending the ban on Jewish prayer on the delicate website, however has been non-committal on the problem since aligning with Netanyahu. Different members of Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Energy occasion nonetheless advocate such a transfer.
Jordan, the custodian of Al Aqsa and whose 1994 peace cope with Israel is unpopular at house, summoned the Israeli ambassador and mentioned the go to had violated worldwide regulation and “the historic and authorized establishment in Jerusalem.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh known as on Palestinians to confront what he described as raids onto the compound and accused Ben-Gvir of staging the go to as a part of a bid to show the shrine “right into a Jewish temple”.
Israel denies having such designs. An official at Netanyahu’s workplace mentioned “claims of a change in the established order are groundless”.
A spokesman for Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that rejects coexistence with Israel and which controls Gaza, mentioned of the go to: “A continuation of this behaviour will convey all events nearer to an enormous conflict.”
The chief of Lebanon’s highly effective armed Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, mentioned that any infringement of the established order would result in an explosion in all the area.
The rise of Ben-Gvir in Netanyahu’s authorities, one of the vital right-wing in Israeli historical past, has deepened Palestinian anger about their long-failed efforts to safe a state in territory Israel captured within the 1967 Center East struggle.
Hours earlier than the go to, Israeli troops shot lifeless a Palestinian teenager in a conflict in close by Bethlehem, medical officers and witnesses mentioned, the newest demise in a rising West Financial institution toll. Israel’s military mentioned troops fired on Palestinians who threw explosives, rocks and firebombs at them.
Al Aqsa is a logo for Palestinian hopes of securing a state, a aim that appears ever bleaker with Ben-Gvir and different far-right allies now in Netanyahu’s authorities.
The European Union’s Center East envoy Sven Koopmans mentioned the established order have to be maintained.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli authorities on the problem of preserving the established order”, a U.S. embassy assertion mentioned.
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, each among the many few Arab states to have recognised Israel, condemned the go to, and Saudi Arabia additionally criticised Ben-Gvir’s motion.
Turkey, which has just lately ended a long-running diplomatic rift with Israel, condemned the go to as “provocative.”
Al Aqsa compound, identified to Muslims because the Noble Sanctuary, is Islam’s third holiest website. It is usually Judaism’s most sacred website, a vestige of two historical Jewish temples.
Israel deems all of Jerusalem its indivisible capital – a standing not recognised internationally. Palestinians need East Jerusalem, the place the compound is situated, as capital of a state additionally taking within the West Financial institution and Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, pious Jews fasted to commemorate a Babylonian siege on the primary of these temples, within the sixth century BC.
Ben-Gvir oversees Israeli police who’re formally tasked with implementing the ban on Jewish prayer on the compound. He mentioned that freedom of motion can be upheld there, with none point out of freedom of worship.
Not removed from the compound, Israel police mentioned on Tuesday they had been investigating the vandalising of gravestones on the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery.
Safety digicam footage circulating on social media confirmed two younger males, one wearing Orthodox Jewish garb, getting into the graveyard, knocking down a cross-shaped tombstone and smashing it with rocks. Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm the footage.
Further reporting by Maayan Lubell, Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ari Rabinovitch, Suleiman al-Khalidi, Matt Spetalnick, Timour Azhari, Huseyin Hayatsever, Michelle Nichols; Modifying by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Edmund Blair, Mark Heinrich and Howard Goller
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.