Israel's Ben-Gvir visits Al Aqsa mosque compound, Palestinians incensed

January 03, 2023

By Dan WilliamsJERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel's new far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir briefly visited Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a site also revered by Jews, prompting fierce condemnation from the Palestinians and several Arab countries. When asked about the visit, a White House National Security Council spokesperson said any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo of Jerusalem holy sites is unacceptable. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on Palestinians to "confront the raids into Al Aqsa mosque". He accused Ben-Gvir of staging the visit as part of a bid to turn the shrine "into a Jewish temple". Ben-Gvir oversees Israeli police who are formally tasked with enforcing the ban on Jewish prayer at the compound.