Esplanade of the Mosques: a new visit by the far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben Gvir provokes the anger of Hamas and Jordan

A visit qualified as “provocation”. The Minister of Internal Security and figure of the Israeli far right, Itamar Ben Gvir, went to the esplanade of the Mosques (the Temple Mount for the Jews), Sunday May 21, in occupied and annexed East Jerusalem by Israel. The visit was uneventful, the Jerusalem police spokesman said.

The visit comes a few days after “Jerusalem Day”, marking the “reunification” of the city after Israel conquered East Jerusalem in 1967. “Threats from Hamas will not deter us, I have been to the Temple Mount”wrote the minister on his Telegram account, accompanying the text with a photograph of his visit.

A visit already denounced in January

Hamas, the ruling party in the Gaza Strip, denounced the visit, saying that Israel “would bear the responsibility for the barbaric incursions of his ministers and his 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”wrote the Islamist movement, which had already denounced the previous visit in January of Itamar Ben Gvir to the site.

Jordan also condemned the visit, calling it a “provocative measure”. The spokesperson for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry denounced “a dangerous and unacceptable escalation”. The site, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism, is administered by Jordan, but access to it is controlled by Israeli security forces. Non-Muslims can go to the site at specific times but without praying there, a rule that is less and less followed by some nationalist Jews.

Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of the far-right Jewish Force party, was charged more than 50 times as a young man with incitement to violence or hate speech. He was convicted in 2007 of supporting a terrorist group and inciting racism.

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