After Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered Al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards in occupied East Jerusalem amid warnings of unrest, the United Arab Emirates and China called for a UN Security Council meeting.
Diplomats met the Council on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
In response to the visit, the US, Israel’s closest ally, expressed deep concern over the recent developments.
A US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “We are deeply concerned about any unilateral actions that could exacerbate tensions precisely because we want to see the opposite happen.”
With respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem, the United States stands firmly for preserving the historic status quo.
Any unilateral actions that undermine the status quo are unacceptable, he said.
In Islam, Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in the world. In Judaism, the area is known as the Temple Mount and was once home to two Jewish temples.
As a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move that was never recognized internationally.
The Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces killed a child in Bethlehem on Tuesday, as police fired at people throwing Molotov cocktails.
Adam Essam Shaker Ayyad, 15, died after a bullet was fired at him by occupation soldiers during the attack on Bethlehem at dawn today. A border police operation in Bethlehem’s Dheisheh refugee camp was accompanied by rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown at border police officers, according to the Israeli military.
According to the army, “The forces fired at Molotov cocktail (sic) hurlers, which resulted in hits,” they said. An Israeli search of houses in Dheisheh, in the southern occupied West Bank, led to clashes, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
Since the start of the year, Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians in the West Bank.
As the army demolished the homes of two Palestinians accused of killing an Israeli soldier in September, clashes broke out in the northern city of Jenin, killing those two Palestinian men.
In Israel and the West Bank, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, more than 150 Palestinians and 26 Israelis were killed last year.
According to the United Nations, 2022 was the deadliest year in the West Bank since 2005.
The inauguration last week of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, has sparked fears of a military escalation in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. In regard to the West Bank, Netanyahu’s extreme-right coalition partners have taken control.
Israeli settlement policy is overseen by Bezalel Smotrich, while national security is overseen by Itamar Ben-Gvir. Both have made inflammatory remarks about Palestinians in the past.
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