After Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir sparked a global fury and condemnation with his Temple Mount visit on Tuesday morning, the Biden administration slammed his move as unacceptable.
Noting that the United States finds unacceptable any unilateral actions that undercut the historic status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington stands firmly for the preservation of the historic status quo which was repeatedly underscored by US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Price said that they expect Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to follow through with the commitment made in its governing platform, which calls for the preservation of the historic status quo in relation to the holy places.
He pointed out that Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, has the potential to exacerbate tensions and provoke violence
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has separately said that any unilateral action that jeopardizes the decades-long status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem is unacceptable.
Ben-Gvir, who has a history of inflammatory statements and was given a key security position in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, created immediate friction between Israel’s new government, the US, and the Muslim world with his Temple Mount visit just five days after Netanyahu’s far-right government was sworn into office.
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have immediately pushed for a UN Security Council meeting on the matter in New York, while the leader of Hamas, which has previously warned that Ben-Gvir’s visit would be considered an act of war, stressed that any infringement of the Al Aqsa’s status quo could lead to an explosion not just inside Palestinian territories, but also in the region.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan have joined Palestinians and Hamas in condemning Ben-Gvir’s provocation with the Kingdom also noting that Israeli authorities’ practices violate international principles and norms regarding respecting religious sanctities and undermine international peace efforts.