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Far-Right Israeli Minister Sets Formal Action Plan To Change Al-Aqsa Mosque Status Quo

17.04.2024 12:42

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir's plan would allow Jewish worshippers inside mosque, one of world's holiest sites for Muslims.

By Anadolu staff

JERUSALEM (AA) — Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir included changes to the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem in his ministry's formal action plans, local media reported on Wednesday.

According to the Israeli public broadcaster KAN, Ben-Gvir's plan seeks to change the status of the holy site for Muslims worldwide by allowing Israeli control over the mosque and opening it to Jewish worshipers.

Yet to comment on Ben-Gvir's plans, Palestinian authorities and Jordan, the official custodian of Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem since 1924, have long opposed similar intentions in the past.

Ben-Gvir's action plan purports to seek to "prevent discrimination" inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, a reference to allowing Jews to worship inside the building and its surrounding compound.

Under an Ottoman-era status quo agreement, non-Muslims are allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, but cannot worship or pray there.

Israeli police, however, have allowed settler incursions into the mosque complex since 2003, despite repeated condemnations from Palestinians.

Al-Aqsa is one of the world's holiest sites for Muslims. Jews, for their part, call the area as the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar -

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