Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's "provocative" storming of Islam's third holiest site has drawn strong criticism and condemnations from across the Muslim world and beyond.

Al Aqsa Mosque is seen as a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation.
Al Aqsa Mosque is seen as a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation. (AFP)

Türkiye has joined many nations in strongly condemning Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's visit to occupied East Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound, a move that triggered widespread anger from Palestinians who see it as an "unprecedented provocation."

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Ankara said, "We are concerned about and condemn the provocative action of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir against the Al Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police."

Ankara called on Israel to "act responsibly to prevent such provocations that would violate the status and sanctity of religious sites in Jerusalem and cause escalation in the region."

Earlier on Tuesday, the extreme-right firebrand security minister entered the compound and declared that the Israeli government "will not surrender to the threats of Hamas" against entering Islam's third holiest site.

Aside from its religious significance, the Al Aqsa Mosque is seen as a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation. As of the most recognisable structures in Jerusalem, it has been repeatedly targeted by Israeli security forces, as well as hardline groups who claim to also have the right to worship at the site.

In December, scores of Israeli settlers also forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that has been never recognised by the international community.

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Ahead of Tuesday's storming, Israel’s opposition leader and former PM Yair Lapid had warned Ben-Gvir that his plan could lead to violence, calling it a "deliberate provocation that will put lives in danger."

Here are some of the other reactions from across the Muslim world and beyond:

Saudi Arabia 

"The foreign ministry expresses the condemnation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the provocative action by an Israeli official who stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque compound," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry said.


"Jordan condemns in the severest of terms the storming of the Aqsa Mosque and violating its sanctity," a statement by Jordan's foreign ministry said.

Jordan has also summoned Israel's ambassador to Amman to formally protest the incident.

In a separate statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sinan Majali said, "The storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque by an Israeli Cabinet member and violating its sanctity is condemned and provocative and amounts to a flagrant violation of international law."

Majali held Israel “solely accountable for the grave consequences of this escalation," warning that such a move threatens to undermine "all efforts made to prevent an upsurge in violence that endangers security and peace."

The Jordanian spokesman called on the international community “to take a swift and decisive action to put an end to such practices."


"The State of Qatar condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli Minister of National Security's storming of the courtyards of Al Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation authorities," the foreign ministry statement said. 

"It considers this act a flagrant violation of international law and the Hashemite Custodianship over the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem," it added, referring to Jordan, which is the custodian of Al Aqsa.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns of the escalatory policy adopted by the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian territories."

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Kuwait's foreign ministry says it "strongly denounces" the incident, adding that "the act provokes the feelings of Muslims, violates international legitimacy resolutions."

It added that the incident comes within the Israeli occupation's "continuous attempts to change the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its sanctities."

It called on the international community "to act immediately and put an end to such acts."


The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said that any infringement of the decades-long status quo at the Al Aqsa Mosque could lead to an explosion in the region, not just inside Palestinian territories.

Israeli PM Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is committed to "strictly keeping the status quo" at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, an official in his office said following the visit.

The official said ministers had visited the compound in the past in keeping with the status quo, "which allows Muslims to worship at the holy site and other religions only to visit."

Palestinian PM Shtayyeh 

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called the storming a bid to turn a major Mosque there "into a Jewish temple."

Addressing his cabinet, Shtayyeh also called on Palestinians to "confront the raids into Al Aqsa Mosque."

US Ambassador to Israel

The US embassy in Israel said in a statement that Ambassador Thomas Nides "has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites", adding that "actions that prevent that are unacceptable" without elaborating.

Palestinian National Initiative

"It is an absolute provocation not only to Palestinians, but to all Muslims and Arabs, and anybody who cares about international law in this world," Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, said in an interview with TRT World news channel.

"He (Ben-Givr) is a well-known racist. He was even taken to court in Israel before, more than once, for terrorist activities. And yet, they allowed him to be in charge of the police.

"This is an act of provocation. It could provoke a real explosion. 

"The problem here is not just about the Al Aqsa Mosque. This is the most radical, most extreme, most fascist government in the history of Israel."


Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the "storming" of Al Aqsa by Ben-Givr was a "continuation of the Zionist occupation's aggression against our sanctities and its war on their Arab identity."

Israeli MP, Ofer Cassif

"An invasion of Al Aqsa compound by a minister in the occupation government accompanied by armed forces is an act of war on the Palestinian people and the Muslim world and a form of Jewish supremacy. Both  people will pay the blood price of this pyromaniac act."

Earlier, Cassif had warned that Ben-Gvir wants "rivers of blood" with his incitements.

"The international community must stop Ben-Gvir's thugs from igniting the Middle East and the world by penetrating Al Aqsa Mosque," he said.

READ MORE: Israelis storm Al Aqsa Mosque to celebrate Hanukkah

Source: TRTWorld and agencies