US 'concerned' by Ben-Gvir's storming of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa complex

'We believe this holy space should not be used for political purposes,' says State Department

10:26 . 23/05/2023 Tuesday
File photo

File photo

The United States expressed concern on Monday over the far-right Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

"We are deeply concerned by the visit to Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. We believe this holy space should not be used for political purposes," said Matthew Miller, spokesperson for State Department, at a press briefing.

Miller invited all parties to respect the sanctity of holy spaces.

On Sunday, Ben-Gvir forced his way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex. Once inside, he claimed Israel’s ownership of the holy site.

Several countries, including the US, Türkiye, France, Jordan, Qatar, and Egypt, also condemned the provocation and the minister’s inflammatory rhetoric.

Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday also slammed Ben-Gvir’s move, calling him “an irresponsible and fanatical man.”

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents Islam’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

- Settlement projects

The spokesman also expressed deep concern over the Israeli government's recent decision to permit citizens to establish permanent residency in the northern West Bank.

"We are deeply troubled by the Israeli government's recent order that allows citizens to establish permanent residence in the northern West Bank, which according to Israeli law, is illegally built on private Palestinian land," Miller said, when asked about the continued settlement projects on the expense of the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem.

Miller termed the Israeli government's order as "inconsistent".

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