U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration plans to speak out against the Israeli occupation in a U.N. Security Council debate against any changes to the status quo of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“We strongly support the preservation of the historical status quo with regard to the holy places in Jerusalem. Any unilateral action that departs from this historic status quo is unacceptable,” said U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price.
He explained that the Biden administration planned to voice this point of view, speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.
“We will be ready to reiterate our views to our colleagues on the Security Council,” he said.
He said earlier that a brief 13-minute visit by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Tuesday morning to the Al-Aqsa Mosque was unacceptable.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government defended Ben-Gvir, arguing that his visit, which underscored Israel’s sovereignty over the site, was not a violation of the status quo, which allows visits to the site but prohibits Jewish worship.
Speaking Wednesday at Jabotinsky’s annual conference, Netanyahu said Israel plans to stick firmly to its principles on the international stage.
“Instead of bowing our heads and obeying the dictates of the international community, we will proudly defend our interests in the State of Israel and in the Land of Israel. We will conduct an audit in foreign relations: our voice will be heard in the world,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, condemned the Security Council debate as “ridiculous and unnecessary,” explaining that it was planned “only because the UN is a distorted and biased body in which Israel is discriminated against.”
He said that “I visited the Temple Mount as Secretary of Homeland Security, and tomorrow during the debate I will again state that the visit of Jews to the Temple Mount is not a violation of the status quo.” He added that “anyone who says otherwise is misleading [the public] and undermining security and stability.”
On Wednesday, France condemned Ben-Gvir’s raid for the second time, explaining that he was questioning Netanyahu’s commitment to maintaining the status quo on the site.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, when he called to congratulate him on his appointment as foreign minister, that Ben-Gvir’s raid was provocative and unacceptable. Cohen assured him that Israel was committed to religious freedom in Jerusalem and that Ben-Gvir’s visit fell within the requirements of the status quo agreement.
The European Union and Germany also spoke out against the raid.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, whose Hashemite Kingdom has a special guardianship relationship with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, made a short trip to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
The UAE and China have officially called for the convening of the 15-member UN Security Council. However, the US has blocked any action against the Israeli occupation in the Security Council. It is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with the right to veto.