Morocco condemns Israeli minister Ben-Gvir's storming of Al-Aqsa Compound
The Moroccan foreign ministry has condemned Israel's extreme-right new national security minister's storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in occupied East Jerusalem, reported local media.
"The Kingdom of Morocco, whose monarch chairs the Jerusalem Committee, calls for preserving the legal and historical status quo in the city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, avoiding escalation and unnecessary and provocative actions," added the ministry's statement published Tuesday by the Moroccan website of Hespress.
The AFP news agency has confirmed the Moroccan ministry's statement. However, Rabat, which normalised ties with Tel Aviv in 2020, has yet to publish an official statement on the events on the foreign ministry's website.
On Tuesday, Ben Gvir, Israel's extreme-right new national security minister, along with his supporters, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque's courtyards in occupied East Jerusalem, in a move bound to inflame tensions.
Al-Aqsa is the third holiest place in Islam. Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.
Ben-Gvir's move comes days after he took office as national security minister, with powers over the police, giving his decision to enter the highly sensitive site considerable weight.
After his visit, Ben-Gvir vowed to "maintain the freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews will also go up to the mount, and those who make threats must be dealt with -- with an iron hand".
The United Nations (UN) and the US have led a chorus of international criticism of a visit to Ben-Gvir's move.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that a change to the status quo of Jerusalem's holy sites would be "unacceptable".
The UAE, which also normalised ties with Israel two years ago, "strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister".
For years seen as a fringe figure, Jewish Power leader Ben-Gvir entered mainstream politics with the backing of newly-appointed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ben-Gvir has advocated for Arab-Israelis deemed disloyal to the state to be expelled and for the annexation of the occupied West Bank.
Until a few years ago, he had a portrait in his living room of Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers at a Hebron mosque in 1994, according to AFP.