The United Arab Emirates and China have reportedly called for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting to discuss Israeli far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Tuesday storming of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ben-Gvir broke into the holy site amid tight security measures. The break-in lasted for 13 minutes, drawing a flood of international condemnations.
He requested to break into the site on Monday, according to Israeli media.
On Sunday, Ben-Gvir said he would visit the holy site in the near future. The new Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly spoke with Ben-Gvir on Monday to discuss his intention to visit the site. The Likud confirmed that, following consultations with security establishment officials, Netanyahu did not object to Ben-Gvir’s break-in.
The UNSC is expected to convene on Thursday, diplomats told Reuters late on Tuesday.
A diplomat on the top panel told The Times of Israel that the meeting was formally requested by the UAE and China on behalf of the Palestinian and Jordanian UN missions — and it could take place as early as Thursday.
Ben-Gvir, who was sworn in last week as part of a new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is known for his extreme views.
His last storming of the holy site took place last March and lasted about fifteen minutes. In May last year, accompanied by his wife and son, Ben-Gvir posted a picture calling for the destruction of the site to “establish a synagogue on the mountain”.
Since 2014, stormings by Israeli occupation officials to the Al-Aqsa Mosque have been considered provocations and a threat to the status quo. Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s storming to the site in 2000 sparked the Second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising.
A string of condemnations from several Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco, quickly followed Ben-Gvir’s storming of the holy site.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas slammed the storming, saying the “crime of the fascist Zionist Ben-Gvir in breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque is a continuation of the Zionist occupation’s aggression against our sanctity and our Arab identity.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also said Tuesday it “strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa mosque by the extremist minister Ben-Gvir and views it as unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the UAE issued a statement in which it “strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister under the protection of Israeli forces.” It also called on “Israeli authorities to assume responsibility for reducing escalation and instability in the region”.
Moreover, a visit by Israel’s new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the UAE slated for next week has been postponed until February, Israeli media reported Tuesday.
Reports of the postponement came shortly after the Gulf state condemned Ben-Gvir’s storming. Among the countries condemning the storming were also the US, the UK and France.
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