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Lapid “does not care if situation escalates” – Analyst

Jerusalem24 – The Israeli government allowed a settler march to go ahead in occupied Jerusalem today celebrating the “remembrance of the destruction of the Temple,” two days after Israel launched a bombing campaign against Gaza that has killed 31 Palestinians.

Footage of thousands of settlers storming Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli forces have been filling Palestinian social media.

A total of 2,173 settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout the day, led this morning by right-wing extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir, in what is widely seen as a “provocation” in the context of ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Israeli affairs analyst Issmat Mansour tells Jerusalem24 that government approval of the march will “only worsen the situation with more stress and escalation.”

“This will also pressure parties that are not directly participating in the current fight – like Hamas, that has not participated in this fight.”

Mansour points out that this march has been canceled in the past by the Knesset. Mansour says today’s approval is a sign that current Prime Minister Yair Lapid does not care if the situation escalates, as this will only benefit his political career, help him gain credit with settlers and Israeli extremists, and show that he’s not “less than the last two former prime ministers who proceeded him.”

“If these provocations continue,” says Mansour, “along with what is happening from massacres and so on in the Strip, and if the fight continues and takes longer – all of this is pressuring Hamas and may push it to the point where it might participate in the fight.”

“They wouldn’t participate with their full might – but Hamas might end up having to participate in the fight.”

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