The United Arab Emirates and China have called on the UN Security Council to meet publicly after Israeli occupation’s new far-right “national security” minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, in an intrusion that the Palestinian leadership called “an unprecedented provocation.”
The meeting is likely to take place on Thursday, amid speculations that the visit to the flashpoint site risks increasing frictions between Palestinians and the Israeli occupation after a surge of violence in the occupied West Bank in 2022.
Meanwhile, Jordan on Tuesday summoned the Israeli occupation’s ambassador in Amman and delivered a strongly worded protest message over Ben-Gvir’s visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
A spokesman for Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Sinan Majali said in a statement that his country strongly condemned the provocative practice against the holy site, demanding the Israeli regime immediately cease all those violations.
“The storming of the al-Aqsa Mosque by an Israeli minister and violating the mosque’s sacredness are a condemned and provocative action, and represent a stark violation of international law, as well as of the historical and legal status quo in al-Quds and its holy sites,” he added.
The spokesman also reiterated that the Jordan-run Department of the al-Aqsa Awqaf and al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs is the only authority to administer the mosque’s affairs.
Under a 2013 agreement signed between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, Jordanian King Abdullah II is the custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in al-Quds.
The Royal Hashemite Court pays the salaries of workers at the Muslim holy places.
Egypt also denounced on Tuesday that Ben-Gvir “stormed al-Aqsa Mosque accompanied by extremist elements under the protection of Israeli force.”
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement that it totally rejected “any unilateral measures that violate the legal and historical status quo in al-Quds.”
The statement warned against the negative repercussions of such activities on the stability and security of the occupied territories and the future of regional peace, calling on all parties to practice self-control and refrain from provoking the situation.
EU stresses importance of preserving status quo at al-Quds holy sites
Moreover, the European Union underlined the importance of preserving the status quo of the holy sites in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.
“We recall the importance of preserving the status quo of the holy sites, and are concerned for actions that go against it,” the Office of the European Union Representative in al-Quds said in a press statement following Ben-Gvir’s incursion into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
“They risk heightening tensions in al-Quds and in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“The past weeks have seen a dangerous increase of tensions and casualties. It is important to de-escalate and avoid any actions and provocations that fuel these tensions,” it added.
The 27-member bloc went on to call on “all actors on the ground and in the wider region to show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation.”
Hardline Israeli officials and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but as part of a decades-old agreement between Jordan – the custodian of Islamic and Christian sites in al-Quds – and Israel in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.
Back in May last year, an Israeli court upheld a ban on Jewish prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after an earlier lower court’s decision stirred outrage among various Palestinians and across the Muslim world. Judge of the district court in al-Quds Aryeh Romanov on October 8 confirmed that Jews are barred from worshiping openly at the site, and only Muslims are permitted to pray there.
In May 2021, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime, during which the regime forces killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.
Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state and view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.