JERUSALEM, Palestine (AA) – An Israeli minister on Wednesday called for building the Jewish temple in place of East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli settler, according to Israeli media.
“The time has come for the recognition of the right of Jews in this land and time has come to build the Temple Mount,” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said in the funeral of the settler, who was killed in a knife attack in the West Bank on Monday.
For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is considered the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Ariel called on the Israeli government to “impose full sovereignty” in the Palestinian territories.
“We must say it in a clear way that there will be only one sovereign state between Jordan and the [Mediterranean] sea, that is the State of Israel with united Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
The Palestinian territories have remained dogged by tension since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, triggering world outcry and protests in the occupied lands -- and multiple clashes with Israeli troops -- that have left at least 25 Palestinians dead.
The holy city, in which Al-Aqsa is located, remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- currently occupied by Israel -- might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.