Far-right Israeli Cabinet minister visits contested Jerusalem holy site, raising tensions

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Israel’s far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday, declaring the contested holy site belongs “only to the state of Israel.” Ben-Gvir said Wednesday’s visit was a response to a move by three European countries to unilaterally recognise an independent Palestinian state. “We will not even allow a statement about a Palestinian state,” he said.

The hilltop compound is revered by Jews and Muslims, and the conflicting claims have led to numerous rounds of violence in the past. Israel allows Jews to visit the compound, but not to pray there. But the visit is likely to be seen around the world as a provocation.