The United States, Hamas, as well as the foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UK, France, and the UAE opposed and condemned Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s ascent to the Temple Mount on Tuesday morning, according to a report by Amit Segal.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told reporter Barak Ravid, “To be very clear – we want to preserve status quo and actions that prevent that are unacceptable. We have been very clear in our conversations with the Israeli government on this issue.” Nides said the Biden administration has made it clear to the Israeli government it opposes any steps that could harm the status quo in the holy sites. The “status quo” Nides mentioned is about preventing Jews from freely visiting and praying at the Jewish people’s holiest site.
U.S. ambassador Tom Nides: “To be very clear – we want to preserve status quo and actions that prevent that are unacceptable. We have been very clear in our conversations with the Israeli government on this issue”
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) January 3, 2023
Segal also reports that Netanyahu’s trip to Abu Dhabi that is planned for next week is expected to be postponed. Officially, the explanation for the trip’s delay is for better technical and procedural coordination between the two countries to make the visit more meaningful.
According to Ravid, the Emirati Foreign Ministry emphasized that the Al-Aqsa Mosque must be protected, the provocations must be stopped, Jordan’s role in the holy places in Jerusalem must be respected and the status quo maintained. The Emirati Foreign Ministry also called on Israel to avoid escalation.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located at the southern end of the Temple Mount, but for propaganda purposes, Islamic extremists have been expanding its definition to include the entire Temple Mount compound.
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement condemning Ben Gvir’s ascension to the Temple Mount and emphasized that it warns against the Israeli government’s “policy of escalation.” The Qatar’s ambassador also cancelled his planned visit to Gaza, perhaps fearing a Hamas escalation.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, condemns the provocation carried out by one of the senior officials of the Israeli government when he stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israel’s measures are contrary to international principles regarding the respect of holy places.
Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said about his visit to the Temple Mount:
“Our government will not surrender to the threats of Hamas. The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel, and we maintain the freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews will also go up to the mountain and those who make threats must be dealt with, with an iron hand.”
In response to the condemnations, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bureau released the following statement:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to strictly maintaining the status quo, without changes, on the Temple Mount. We will not be dictated to by Hamas. Under the status quo, ministers have gone up to the Temple Mount in recent years, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan; therefore, the claim that a change has been made in the status quo is without foundation.”
We’re reminded of the sentence from the Torah:
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the families on earth will be blessed through you.”