Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday blamed the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the current tension at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu reports.
Speaking to the Israeli Public Radio, Lapid accused far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of seeking to set the Middle East on fire.
He blamed Israeli police violence against worshippers inside Al-Aqsa complex to the “irresponsible behavior” of the Israeli government.
“This is what happens when you give this kind of responsibility to the most radical man in the State of Israel,” Lapid said, in reference to Ben-Gvir.
Lapid went on to accuse Ben-Gvir of being a “Tik Tok clown who only wants to set the Middle East on fire.”
Early on Sunday, Israeli police forces entered into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex to secure settler intrusions into the flashpoint site.
Tension escalated across the Palestinian territories in recent days after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem and forcibly removed worshippers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Israeli raids on the mosque triggered rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, with Israeli retaliating with air and artillery shelling.
On Saturday, Israeli police recommended halting settler intrusions into the Al-Aqsa complex during the last 10 days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to ease tension, but the recommendation was rejected by Ben-Gvir, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site. Jews, for their part, call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.