JERUSALEM, Tuesday, January 03, 2023 (WAFA) – The United Kingdom today expressed concern over Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s incursion into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The UK remains committed to the Status Quo, and it is important that all should avoid actions which inflame tensions and undermine the cause of peace,” The British Consulate General in Jerusalem said in a press statement.
Israel’s far-right national security minister Ben-Gvir barged his way into Al-Aqsa Mosque's courtyards in the early morning hours, a move that bounds to inflame tensions.
A video posted on social media shows Ben-Gvir touring the courtyards with a heavy police escort.
This is not the first time that Ben-Gvir has stormed Al-Aqsa. In May last year, accompanied by his wife and son, Ben-Gvir posted a picture calling for the destruction of the site to "establish a synagogue on the mountain".
Since Israel occupied the site following the 1967 war, Jewish prayer at the site has been forbidden, though far-right settlers such as Ben-Gvir (some of whom want to demolish Al-Aqsa and replace it with a third Jewish temple) have frequently prayed there under strict security in recent years.
When former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon made a similar trip to the site in 2000, it sparked the Second Intifada Palestinian uprising.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.