'With all respect to Jordan', I'll continue storming Al-Aqsa, says Israeli far-right minister Ben Gvir

'With all respect to Jordan', I'll continue storming Al-Aqsa, says Israeli far-right minister Ben Gvir
2 min read
25 January, 2023
Ben Gvir sparked a diplomatic storm between Israel and Arab countries, after the far-right politician's storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Ben Gvir has stormed the Palestinian village of Khan Sheikhoun [Getty]

Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben Gvir has said he will ignore Jordan and continue storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-most important site in Islam.

Ben Gvir sparked a diplomatic storm between Israel and its Arab allies and neighbours when the extremist politician stormed the compound earlier in January.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited King Abdullah in Amman on Tuesday to reassure the monarch that the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site, which Jordan is the custodian of, will be maintained.

Ben Gvir said that despite the promises Netanyahu made to the king, he will continue to raid the holy site.

"I do not conduct my policy regarding the Temple Mount according to the policy of the Jordanian government," he told the Israeli Kan broadcaster.

"With all due respect to Jordan, Israel is an independent country. I went up to the Temple Mount, I will continue to go up to the Temple Mount, the Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel and the State of Israel is a sovereign country ... not a protectorate of any other country."

Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise since the new Netanyahu government was sworn in, particularly including after the Jordanian ambassador to Israel was held up by Israeli police while attempting to visit Al-Aqsa.

Jordan summoned the Israeli ambassador in Amman to protest the obstruction at Al-Aqsa, while the raid on the compound by Ben Gvir has added to the tensions.

The UAE postponed a visit to Abu Dhabi from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the storming, while Jordan and other Arab countries protested the "provocative act".

Israel has sent a minister to the UAE to pave the way for a visit by Netanyahu next month and to reassure Abu Dhabi about the far-right ministers in the coalition.

Netanyahu is reliant on these ministers to hold together his government, amid charges against the prime minister over alleged corruption.

Western and Arab countries have voiced concern about the presence of far-right figures in the new Israeli government, although Ben Gvir and his Religious Zionism bloc colleague Bezalel Smotrich have both met Emirati diplomats in Tel Aviv.

Palestinians fear an all-out assault on their rights by the new far-right government.