The President of the German-Israeli Society, Volker Beck, has called for de-escalation in view of the conflict surrounding the visit of the Israeli Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The President of the German-Israeli Society called for calm because of tensions arising from the visit of the Israeli Minister for National Security to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “One can certainly argue about whether the visit of the Israeli Minister for National Security to the Temple Mount was prudent and now announced,” he told the editorial network Germany (RND). “But the thought that it is supposed to be a provocation when Jews pray on the Temple Mount alienates me.” After all, there is nothing wrong with Muslims going to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or Christians going to the Wailing Wall.

Beck added: “Hamas’ protests amount to incitement to violence. That also does not work. This must be resolutely opposed. All sides should work to ensure that there is no escalation.” Overall, the situation is complicated. “While a majority of Israelis would like a two-state solution, a majority also think it is unrealistic,” he told RND. “And on the Palestinian side, all attempts to get there have so far been thrown to the wind.”

In his own words, Beck is now hoping for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of the Likud bloc. They could “ensure that the heated rhetoric used by some members of the ruling coalition will not dictate the new government’s domestic and foreign policy goals.”

Ben-Gvir, who is very controversial and has a criminal record in Israel, visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday. The then opposition leader Ariel Sharon triggered the second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) with a similar visit in 2000.

After the controversial visit to the Temple Mount by the new Israeli police minister, militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip tried to fire a rocket towards Israel. The launch of the rocket on Tuesday evening failed, however, the Israeli army said. It fell over the Gaza Strip. There were initially no reports of injuries or even deaths.

The Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to Jews because there used to be two Jewish temples there. The Temple Mount is under Muslim administration while Israel is responsible for security. According to an agreement with the Muslim authorities, Jews can visit the facility but not pray there. However, there are always violations.

Ben-Gvir had criticized this agreement as “racist” and as discrimination against Jews. Palestinians have accused Israel of wanting to expand its control over the holy site. The visit caused irritation in the United States. Criticism also came from France, Saudi Arabia and many other countries.

Ben-Gvir of the far-right Ozma Jehudit is considered a political arsonist, especially with regard to the Palestinians. He is part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing religious government.