United Nation's Security Council members have blasted Israel over the stoking of tension around the Al-Aqsa compound. The 15-member body, including the US, raised its concern during an emergency session yesterday. The session was convened after newly appointed Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque earlier this week.
Ben-Gvir is a far-right Israeli politician and is widely regarded as a religious extremist. He was previously convicted of supporting Jewish terrorist group Kach. Ben-Gvir is also known to idolise Israeli American terrorist Baruch Goldstein who massacred 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounded 125 others in the Ibrahimi Mosque in occupied Hebron, in 1994.
The emergency meeting was convened following a request by the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, and with the backing of other members of the council, including China and the UAE, which normalised relations with Israel in 2020 under the so-called Abraham Accords. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour pushed for the Security Council to take action against Israel over Ben-Gvir's provocative actions.
Read: Abraham Accords Conference called off by Israel as Arab States refuse to join
"We are concerned by any unilateral acts that exacerbate tensions or undermine the viability of a two-state solution," said US Ambassador to the UN Robert A Wood, echoing a recent warning issued by Washington to Israel over illegal outposts in the West Bank. "The US firmly supports the preservation of the historical status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem, especially on the Haram Al Sharif."
Woods went on to explain that the US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both firmly support the status quo, and that the US appreciates Jordan's role overseeing the holy site. "In this spirit, we oppose any and all unilateral actions that depart from the historical status quo that are unacceptable," Wood added.
UAE representative to the UN Mohamed Abushahab said that his country "strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister." He went on to criticise Israel's "lack of commitment to the existing historical and legal status of the holy sites in Jerusalem" which Abushahab warned "further destabilises the fragile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories."
"We in the Security Council must adopt a unified position against any actions that could inflame tensions," added Abushahab. The Russian delegate echoed the concerns and said that any violation of the status quo in Jerusalem is unacceptable.