IP- United Nation’s Security Council members voiced concern and stressed the need to maintain the status quo at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, but did not commit to any action days after Israel’s new far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir made a controversial visit to the site, which Palestinian leaders called “an unprecedented provocation”.

Iran PressMiddle East: The decades-old status quo at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound allows only Muslim worship at the site, which is Islam’s third-holiest after Mecca and Medina.

But the site is also revered by Jews, who call it the Temple Mount. Israel’s far-right groups have long attempted to change the status quo and allow Jewish prayer at the site. Calls have also been made by the far right for a Jewish temple to be built in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour pushed for the Security Council on Thursday to take action against Israel over Ben-Gvir’s provocative actions. Israel’s new security minister is well known for racist incitement against Arabs, opposition to Palestinian statehood, and for leading raids by settlers into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

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“What red line does Israel need to cross for the Security Council to finally say, enough is enough?” Mansour asked the 15-member council, accusing Israel of showing “absolute contempt”.

Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from UN headquarters in New York, said Security Council members had expressed concern about the situation at the Al Aqsa compound and the dangers of escalation “but their words were measured and limited, with little direct criticism of Israel”.

The Palestinian ambassador, Bays said, expressed his dismay that the council was taking no action and warned the council that the situation could turn into an uprising.“All 15 members of the Security Council restated, as they always do, their commitment to a two-state solution. However, in recent days, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his new government supports continued settlement across Palestinian land, further undermining that internationally-desired outcome,” Bays said.

A senior UN political affairs official, Khaled Khiari, told the council meeting that it was the first visit to the site by an Israeli cabinet minister since 2017.

“While the visit was not accompanied or followed by violence, it is seen as particularly inflammatory given Mr Ben-Gvir’s past advocacy for changes to the status quo,” he said.


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