Arab television showed images of protests by Palestinians present in the area, the third holiest site for Muslims, considering the visit a provocation.
The tour of the settlers, escorted by the police, was led by the extremist rabbi Yehuda Glick and the far-right deputy Itamar ben Gvir on the occasion of the day of fasting or Tisha B’Av, a date that commemorates the destruction of the two biblical temples of the Jews.
To protect their access, Israeli agents placed strict restrictions on Palestinians entering the religious compound.
“Ben Gvir (…) will cause a huge explosion with their visit, and the police allow them to do so,” Israeli Health Minister and Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz criticized on Twitter.
The newspaper The Times of Israel estimated that the visit could raise tensions significantly as it takes place in the midst of clashes between the Army and Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip.
The holy site is revered both by Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount. The former revere it because it contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, while the latter revere it as well because their two biblical temples were built there.