Ben-Gvir threatens to storm Al-Aqsa during extremist Flag March

Ben-Gvir said he wanted to hit Palestinians in ‘the most important place for them’ [Getty]

Israel’s extremist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has threatened to storm the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday, during a provocative ‘Flag March’ through Jerusalem.

Israeli settlers are due to celebrate ‘Jerusalem Day’, the anniversary of their capture of Palestinian East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war on Wednesday.

Israeli settlers and extremists mark the event by marching through Palestinian areas of the city while waving Israeli flags in a deliberate provocation.

The day is often marked by assaults on Palestinian people and properties as well as other provocations.

Ben-Gvir, who has a history of violent incitement against Palestinians, told Israeli Army Radio that the march was planned to pass through the Muslim Quarter and the Damascus Gate in the Old City in East Jerusalem.

Around 3,000 Israeli police will provide security, the Israeli news website YNet reported.

“We need to hit them in the most important place for them. Every year, they said that it wasn’t appropriate and it wasn’t the time. But the opposite is true. If we give ground to them we get an October 7,” Ben-Gvir said, according to The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

“We will march through the Damascus Gate and rise to the ‘Temple Mount’, no matter what they think and despite their anger,” the far-right minister added, using an Israeli term for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third most holy site in the Islamic faith.

“We need to come and say the Temple Mount is ours and Jerusalem is ours. If we see ourselves as the owners of the area, our enemies will respect us.”

Israeli police said on Monday that the Flag March would follow its “traditional” route through the Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter, despite heightened tensions caused by Israel’s war on Gaza.

In contrast to Ben-Gvir, however, they said that the extremist march would not pass through the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or its gates.

Ben-Gvir, along with fellow extremist minister Bezalel Smotrich, is widely believed to be holding up Israeli acceptance of a truce deal announced by the US which would restore calm in Gaza.

In his interview with Israeli Army Radio, Ben-Gvir suggested that Israel should cut off aid and fuel to the Gaza Strip for a month or two to “see what they will do”.

Israel’s siege of Gaza and its restrictions on aid, coupled with its indiscriminate airstrikes, have brought the territory to the brink of famine.

He also said he should be put in charge of the Lebanese front, saying he would “teach Hezbollah what an Israeli response is like”.


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