Members of the United Nations Security Council expressed concern and emphasized the importance of maintaining the status quo at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, but they made no commitments to take any action days after Israel's new security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir made a contentious visit to the location, which Palestinian leaders referred to as "an unprecedented provocation."
The Al Aqsa Mosque complex, which is the third-holiest to Islam after Mecca and Medina, has only allowed Muslim worship for decades.
Jews, however, who refer to the location as the Temple Mount, also highly value it. Israel has long pushed to alter the status quo and enable Jewish worship at the location. They have also advocated for the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be replaced with a Jewish temple.
Riyad Mansour, the UN representative for Palestine, urged the Security Council on Thursday to condemn Israel over Ben-aggressive Gvir's activities. The new security minister of Israel is widely known for inciting racism against Arabs, opposing Palestinian independence, and organizing settlers' incursions into the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
What threshold must Israel exceed before the Security Council declares that enough is enough? Mansour inquired while charging Israel with "absolute disrespect."
Reporting from the UN's headquarters in New York, Al Jazeera's Diplomatic Editor James Bays said that while Security Council members had expressed concern about the situation at the Al Aqsa compound and the potential for escalation, "their words were measured and limited, with little direct criticism of Israel."
According to Bays, the Palestinian envoy conveyed his disappointment with the council's inaction and forewarned it that a riot would break out.
"As they regularly do, all 15 members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for a two-state solution. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his new administration is in favor of continuing settlement over Palestinian territory, further undercutting that globally sought result, according to Bays.
According to senior UN political affairs staffer Khaled Khiari, it was an Israeli cabinet minister's first trip to the location since 2017.
The visit was neither accompanied nor followed by violence, but given Mr. Ben-prior Gvir's support for status quo reforms, he said, it was seen as extremely incendiary.
Ben-Gvir originally campaigned for lifting the restriction on Jewish prayer at the site, but ever since he sided with Netanyahu, he has remained ambivalent on the subject. Still, some members of Ben-Jewish Gvir's Power party support this course of action.
The Security Council meeting was criticized by Israel's envoy to the UN as "pathetic" and "absurd."
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli envoy, told reporters before the meeting that there was "absolutely no reason" for it to take place.
It is simply ludicrous to call a Security Council meeting for a non-event, he said.
Ben-visit, Gvir's according to Erdan, was "in keeping with the current quo, and anyone asserts differently is merely escalating the conflict."
It is pitiful to suggest that this quick and entirely legal visit should trigger an emergency Security Council meeting, he added.
The peace treaty-holding nations of Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates denounced Ben-"storming" Gvir's of Al-Aqsa.
The Israeli ambassador was called by Amman, who said that the visit had broken both international law and "the historic and legal status quo in Jerusalem."
Ben-Gvir was also criticized by Saudi Arabia, with whom Netanyahu hopes to negotiate a peace agreement. The visit was also denounced as "provocative" by Turkey, which just repaired a long-standing diplomatic rupture with Israel.
According to Robert Wood, the US's deputy UN ambassador, the US, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, said it was "concerned by any unilateral measures that increase tensions or undermine the sustainability of a two-state solution."
We take notice of the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu's program for the government advocates for maintaining the status quo about the holy sites. We anticipate the Israeli government to keep its end of the bargain, Wood added.
Over the years, the UN Security Council has enacted several resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is in favor of a two-state solution to bring about Middle Eastern peace.