UN Security Council to discuss Israel minister Ben-Gvir's storming of Al-Aqsa compound

UN Security Council to discuss Israel minister Ben-Gvir's storming of Al-Aqsa compound
2 min read
The 15-member UN Security Council will convene at 3:00pm (2000 GMT) following a request by the United Arab Emirates and China.
The UN Security Council will convene on Thursday at the United Nations headquarters in New York [ED JONES/AFP/Getty-file photo]

The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the controversial storming of occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir that has enraged Palestinians.

The 15-member council will convene at 3:00pm (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 storming of the Al-Aqsa compound by Ben-Gvir, Israel's new national security minister, could lead to an escalation.

The Palestinian foreign ministry called Ben-Gvir's attendance at the site a "serious threat", while countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE also slammed the move.

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Al-Aqsa Mosque lies in East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally annexed in 1980. It is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most-scared Muslim place in Palestine.

Jews refer to the compound as the Temple Mount and consider it their holiest site, though a significant proportion – particularly from the ultra-Orthodox community – believe praying there violates religious law.

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 Tuesday attendance at Al-Aqsa was criticised by the United States, a longstanding ally of Israel.

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

The UN Security Council has adopted several resolutions on the Israel-Palestine conflict over the years and supports the two-state solution.