UN Security Council to meet on Thursday over the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli Minister

MENA , AFP , Wednesday 4 Jan 2023

The UN Security Council will meet Thursday to discuss the visit to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by an Israeli minister that has enraged Palestinians.

Israeli police secure the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Je
Israeli police secure the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. AP

The 15-member Council will convene at 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) at the United Nations headquarters in New York following a request by the United Arab Emirates and China.

There have been fears Tuesday's visit by Israel's extreme-right new national security minister, firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir, could spark a war.

Al-Aqsa Mosque lies in the walled Old City of East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories, the compound is administered by Jordan's Waqf Islamic affairs council, with Israeli forces operating there and controlling access. 

It is the third-holiest site in Islam and a sacred place to Jews, who refer to it as Temple Mount.

Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.

In recent years, a growing number of Jews, most of them Israeli nationalists, have covertly prayed at the compound, a development decried by Palestinians.

Western governments warned such moves threaten the fragile arrangement at Jerusalem's holy sites.

Ben-Gvir's visit sparked a wave of international condemnation, including from the United States, a longstanding ally of Israel.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, reiterated Wednesday that the Secretary-General "calls on all to refrain from steps that could escalate tensions in and around Jerusalem."

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkiye were among nations to condemn the visit.

A joint Palestinian Arab-Islamic delegation will meet with the President of the Security Council, and two other meetings will take place with the Non-Aligned Group and the Palestine delegation to the United Nations ahead of tomorrow’s session, the Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported.

The UN Security Council has adopted several resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years and supports the two-state solution to peace in the Middle East.

* This story has been edited by Ahram Online.


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