Bahrain Delays Hosting Israeli Foreign Minister

Date:

The official justification given by Manama is a conflict of timing, but according to an official, Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount prompted this decision.

Bahrain informed Israel on Thursday that it was postponing plans to host Foreign Minister Eli Cohen next week, hours after far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the site ultra-sensitive Temple Mount, which drew condemnation from much of the Arab world and the United States.

Bahrain’s official reason for the postponement is a scheduling conflict, but an official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Friday that Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount was the real reason for the decision.

It was not the first time that a visit by Ben Gvir to the Temple Mount had drawn backlash from Israel’s Gulf allies. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to visit the United Arab Emirates in January, but Abu Dhabi withdrew his invitation after what he called a ‘provocation’ by Ben Gvir, who also visited the mountain this that month. Officials had said the decision to cancel the visit was also linked to fears that Netanyahu would use it to make public statements against Iran on Emirati soil. The invitation has still not been renewed.

The Netanyahu government’s policy toward the Palestinians has also led Morocco to repeatedly delay plans to host the regional forum where Israel, the United States and their Middle Eastern allies seek to advance plans. regional in various fields.

Israel has been trying to smooth things over with Morocco, recognizing its sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region last week, leading Rabat to invite Netanyahu to visit the kingdom.

Police said they arrested 16 Jewish visitors and two Arabs following unrest at the site Thursday morning. No other details were provided.

Negev and Galilee Development Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, a member of Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party, and MK Amit Halevi (Likud) also climbed the mount to mark Tisha BeAv under tight security. The visits by the politicians were uneventful.

The visits have drawn condemnation from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestinian terror group Hamas and the United States.

“We are concerned about today’s visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.

“We reaffirm the longstanding position of the United States in favor of the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem and we underscore Jordan’s special role in the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Any unilateral or rhetorical action that deviates from or jeopardizes the status quo is totally unacceptable. »

Israel took the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War in 1967. It did, however, allow the Waqf [Jordan-backed Islamic Jerusalem] to continue to exercise religious authority over the mount, but it is Israel that ensures the security of the site.

The site is considered the holiest in Judaism, as it housed two biblical Temples, while the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the mount, is the third holiest site in Islam, which has made this area one of the ultra-sensitive points of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Under the status quo, an arrangement that has prevailed for decades in cooperation with Jordan, Jews and other non-Muslims are allowed to visit the Temple Mount during certain hours but cannot pray there.

In recent years, religious nationalist Jews, including some members of the new coalition, have increasingly visited the site and demanded equal prayer rights for Jews, angering Palestinians. and Muslims around the world.

This article is originally published on fr.timesofisrael.com

 

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