Raids on al-Aqsa under new Netanyahu govt could spark regional conflict, PA says
Further Israeli raids on Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque under Israel's incoming far-right government could further undermine the Status Quo and explode into a regional conflict, the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Ministry warned on Sunday.
The Ramallah-based ministry said that the Status Quo on the holy sites is under particular threat given the agreements made between incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is set to become Israel's Police Minister.
“Making any changes to the status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque is a direct threat that will blow up the conflict across the entire region,” the ministry said in a statement reported by the Palestinian Authority's official Wafa news agency.
On the same day that the statement was issued, scores of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa compound under police escort, he Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf Department.
The department, which administers the Jerusalem holy sites, said the settlers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate and performed rituals there. Under the Status Quo, Jewish prayers are not allowed in the al-Aqsa compound and are viewed as a provocation.
The Palestinian foreign ministry urged Arab states and Muslim-majority countries to take coordinated action to protect Jerusalem's holy sites from Israeli incursions.
Israel's incoming government is the most right-wing in its history, forcing Netanyahu into a diplomatic balancing act between his coalition - which advocates for ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians - and Western allies.
A settler living in the occupied West Bank, which Israel took over in a 1967 war, Ben-Gvir is opposed to Palestinian statehood. He also supports Jewish prayer on a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site that houses al-Aqsa Mosque and which is a vestige of ancient Jewish temples.