Hamas threatens escalation: Israel's police minister visits Temple Mount despite warnings

Despite numerous warnings from the Palestinian organization Hamas, Israel's far-right Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Hamas threatens escalation: Israel's police minister visits Temple Mount despite warnings

Despite numerous warnings from the Palestinian organization Hamas, Israel's far-right Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ex-Prime Minister Jair Lapid speaks of targeted provocation "that will cost lives".

Despite warnings, Israel's new Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the first time since taking office. According to Israeli media reports, he came to the holy place in the old town in the early morning accompanied by the police. Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian organization ruling in the Gaza Strip, had previously warned against such a visit by Ben-Gvir and threatened a "prelude to an escalation in the region".

The Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to Jews because there used to be two Jewish temples there. The Temple Mount is under Muslim administration while Israel is responsible for security. According to an agreement with the Muslim authorities, Jews are allowed to visit the facility, but not to pray there. However, there are always violations. Ben-Gvir had criticized this agreement as "racist" and discrimination against Jews.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of wanting to expand its control of the holy site. From the Palestinian side, Ben-Gvir's visit is seen as a deliberate provocation. Former Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid tweeted on Monday: "Itamar Ben-Gvir must not visit the Temple Mount, this is a provocation that will lead to violence that will endanger human life and cost human life."

The second Palestinian uprising Intifada began in 2000 after a demonstrative visit by the then opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount.

Ben-Gvir of the far-right Ozma Jehudit had previously been convicted of racist hate speech and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization. He is considered a political arsonist, especially with regard to the Palestinians. He is part of Benjamin Netanyahu's new right-wing religious government, which was sworn in on Thursday in Israel.

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