(April 5, 2022 / JNS) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday called on Israelis to refrain from taking “provocative” actions. The comment, made during an interview with 103 FM, was an apparent criticism of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s tour of the Damascus Gate area in Jerusalem the day before.
“There are many who want to walk around places and in all kinds of situations,” said Gantz. “Without getting into this specific tour, I say that we should not do things that are provocative; let’s not do things that undermine stability, which is critical during this period.”
He emphasized, however, that Lapid’s visit was “completely legitimate.”
Lapid visited Damascus Gate on Sunday accompanied by Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, following a situation assessment at the Jerusalem Police headquarters.
“This is a difficult, tense period, but we have a police force that can be relied on to get us through this complex period. We give you full backing,” he tweeted after the tour.
Shortly after Lapid’s visit, violent riots erupted in the area for the second consecutive night. One officer was wounded, according to police. Another officer was wounded during Saturday’s riots, having been struck in the head by a bottle.
The unrest continued in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday, as Arab youths clashed with security forces following Ramadan prayers.
On Sunday, the Hamas terror organization called Lapid’s visit a “dangerous escalation.”
“The storming of the Damascus Gate by the foreign minister of the Zionist enemy, Yair Lapid, is a dangerous escalation, and the occupation will be responsible for its consequences. We and our people pledge to protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque,” said Hamas in a statement.
The unrest in Jerusalem comes amid high tensions in Israel following a string of terror attacks in which 11 Israelis were murdered.
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