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Israeli minister’s visit to Al Aqsa mosque riles up UN and the Islamic world, labelled as ‘violation of sanctity’

On Tuesday (January 3), Israeli Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in the presence of Israeli forces. The incident was dubbed as an act of desecration, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China calling for an emergency session of the United Nations.

The Jewish Minister was labelled as a ‘far right’ leader and was accused of ‘storming’ the holy site with ‘illegal Jewish settlers under police protection.’ The UAE, which had normalised its bilateral ties with Israel condemned the move by Itamar Ben-Gvir.

In a statement on the same day, it said, “The UAE today strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister under the protection of Israeli forces.”

“The Ministry called upon Israeli authorities to assume responsibility for reducing escalation and instability in the region,” it further added. The Israeli Minister also drew the ire of the Foreign Ministry of Jordan, which condemned him for violating the ‘sanctity’ of the mosque.

On Wednesday (January 4), a meeting was held by the council of Arab ambassadors to the United Nations. Thereafter, another meeting was arranged by the council of ambassadors of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Whiles speaking about the development, Palestine’s permanent representative to the UN, Riyadh Mansour, told Arab News “You see that within the span of 48 hours, the international community is reacting strongly and in a unified way against (this) fascist member of the Israeli cabinet Ben-Gvir.”

Nonetheless, the visit of Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Al Aqsa mosque rattled several pro-Palestine propagandists. Emirati royal, Sheikha Hend bint Faisal Al Qasimi, tweeted, “Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entry of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound draws fierce condemnation. In the history of stupid actions – this takes the cake.”

While dubbing Israel as ‘Zionist regime’, the radical Islamist Taliban regime of Afghanistan also condemned the supposed ‘desecration’ of the Al-Aqsa mosque by Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“Visit? Contested? That a fanatic Jewish supremacist & convicted criminal raids Al Aqsa Mosque with armed guards does not make it contested! Another example when @BBCNews⁩ and western mainstream media reporting in general is part of the problem,” Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot said.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also did not leave behind in standing up for ‘Ummah.’ He tweeted, “Pakistan strongly condemns the insensitive and provocative visit of Israeli Minister of National Security to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”

The history of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

A source of major resentment in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the religious divide between the Israeli Jewish people and the Palestinian Muslims. The Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism where Jews turn during prayer is in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount complex is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. the Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock (an Islamic shrine that is instantly recognizable because of its gold-plated dome).

However, before the construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, there was a grand Jewish temple in the same location on the Temple Mount.

This Jewish Holy Temple, called the Second Temple, was the holiest Jewish site of worship until it was destroyed by the Roman Empire in the 70 A.D. as punishment for a Jewish revolt.

The Second Temple was constructed in 516 BCE after the First Temple or Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE. The Foundation Stone, the holiest site for the Jews at present, is located on the floor of the Dome of the Rock.

However, the Jews are not allowed to visit it as it is located inside the Islamic shrine.

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