What reaction of the Palestinians after the visit of Ben Gvir on the esplanade of the Mosques?

Itamar Ben-Gvir in the occupied West Bank, March 21, 2019. AFP / File

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Israel's new national security minister, a far-right figure, visited Islam's third holiest site on Tuesday.

A gesture denounced as a "


" by the Palestinians.

Paris, Washington and the UN have expressed their concern.

The United Arab Emirates, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is calling for a meeting on this subject.


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Anger in the Arab and Muslim world following the visit of Itamar Ben Gvir to the Esplanade of the Mosques in East Jerusalem, part of the city annexed by the Jewish State.

The Palestinian Authority, based in the occupied West Bank, said it wanted to refer the matter to the UN.

Officials blasted an " 

unprecedented provocation 


In the Gaza Strip, the ruling Islamist movement Hamas, which has waged four wars against Israel in the past, has already claimed that such a visit was a " 

red line 


In Gaza, the political and military offices of Hamas and the armed Palestinian factions held meetings on Tuesday to decide on a " 


 " reaction to the minister's "


", sources in the movement told AFP.

During the night, a rocket was launched towards Israel from the enclave under Israeli blockade, but it ran aground in the Palestinian territory.

Single shot, unclaimed.

All the Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates having normalized their relations with the Jewish state, Jordan and Egypt strongly condemned the visit.

A few weeks ago, on the occasion of their national day, the

United Arab Emirates

welcomed Itamar Ben Gvir to their embassy in Tel Aviv, recalls our correspondent in Jerusalem,

Sami Boukhelifa


But Abu Dhabi, which normalized its diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in 2020, is now stepping up to the plate, as are Jordan and Morocco, which also have ties with Israel.

The message is clear: Muslim holy sites are a red line.

The esplanade of the Mosques, Temple Mount in Judaism, also sacred to Jews, has been the subject of a status quo since 1967, and Israel's conquest of East Jerusalem.

►Also read: 

Israeli extremist minister Ben Gvir on the esplanade of the Mosques

A "



Under this international agreement, the place is under Jordanian sovereignty.

Only Muslims have the right to pray there.

The Jewish faithful have a simple right of visitation.

However, on going to the esplanade, Itamar Ben Gvir said in substance: “

We are at home.

We do what we want


A dangerous questioning of the status quo.

In the Israeli press, Itamar Ben Gvir is described as “an

arsonist, ready to do anything to glean a few votes from voters of the extreme right


For the daily 


, the " 

first sensitive deadline will be this Friday's prayer 

" on the esplanade, bringing together tens of thousands of worshipers each week and sometimes leading to clashes with the Israeli police who guard access.

Another problem is that past experience shows that widely publicized incidents on the Temple Mount tend to encourage (Palestinian) lone wolves to carry out attacks

 ," the left-leaning daily continues.

According to the UN, the toll of Palestinians killed in operations or clashes with Israeli forces in 2022 is the highest in years.

►Also listen: 

Israel: "The far right wants to do as it pleases"

The Esplanade of the Mosques, an ultra-sensitive place in the Old City of Jerusalem

The esplanade covers 14 hectares overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

It is located in the Palestinian sector of the city, occupied by Israel since 1967 then annexed, and which the Palestinians want to make the capital of the state to which they aspire.

Called Al-Haram al-Sharif or simply Al-Aqsa by Muslims, the site is home to the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque where, according to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad visited.

The Dome of the Rock stands on the stone from which he is said to have ascended to heaven on his winged mare.

The esplanade is the third holiest site in Islam.

Its construction began in the 7th century, after the capture of Jerusalem by Caliph Omar.

It is built on the site of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 and whose most important known vestige, the Wailing Wall, is located below.

Called Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) by Jews, the esplanade is Judaism's holiest site.

Israel says it does not want to change the

status quo

inherited from the 1967 conflict. The rules authorize Muslims to climb the esplanade at any time of the day and night and non-Muslims to enter it at certain times but without praying.

In recent years, the number of Jews visiting the esplanade has increased and Jewish ultranationalists sometimes pray there surreptitiously after having climbed there as simple visitors.

This frequently creates tension with Muslim worshipers who fear that the Jewish state is trying to change the rules that govern access to the esplanade of the Mosques, administered by Jordan but whose access is controlled by the security forces Israelis.

The site is a hotbed of regular tension: more than 80 dead in three days in 1996, bloody clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in 2000 after Ariel Sharon's visit, marking the start of the second Intifada;

a week of violence provoked by the imposition of new security measures at the entrance to the esplanade in 2017;

dozens injured in clashes between Israeli police and worshipers in 2019. In 2021, nightly protests in East Jerusalem and clashes even on the esplanade turned into 11 days of war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, and Israel.

In the spring of 2022, clashes broke out on several occasions, leaving hundreds of Palestinians injured on and around the esplanade.





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  • Jerusalem

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