Israeli Minister visits Al-Aqsa Compound

GAZA: Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem and declared Israel was “in charge”, drawing condemnation from Palestinians after months of escalating tension and violence.
The comments during his early morning visit on Sunday to the compound came days after groups of Jewish youths scuffled with Palestinians and chanted racist slogans during the annual far-right “flag march” through the Old City.
The event, held on “Jerusalem Day”, which marks the 1967 capture and annexation of East Jerusalem, a move considered illegal under international law, has led to violence in recent years, as far-right Israelis shout provocative slogans and insults, as well as physically attack Palestinians and even journalists.
“I’m happy to ascend the Temple Mount, the most important place for the people of Israel,” Ben-Gvir said during his visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, also known as Al-Haram al-Sharif by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews.
In 2021, tensions around Al-Aqsa were followed by an 11-day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which controls the Strip, has warned repeatedly that it would react to what it sees as Jewish incursions on the site, which stands in Jordanian custodianship under a long-standing “status quo” arrangement put in place to contain tensions. –Agencies