UNSC dismayed by Israel settlement plan, stresses upholding al-Aqsa status quo

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The United Nations Security Council expressed on Monday “deep concern and dismay” with Israel’s last week announcement of further construction and expansion of settlements on occupied Palestinian territories.

“The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlements activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution based on the 1967 lines,” said the UNSC presidential statement agreed by consensus of all 15 members.

It added that the UNSC “strongly opposes all unilateral measures that impede peace, including, inter alia, Israeli construction and expansion of settlements, confiscation of Palestinians’ land, and the ‘legalization’ of settlement outposts, demolition of Palestinians’ homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians.”

This comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government recently authorized Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and a week prior to that announced plans to construct new homes in already established settlements. The settlement activities included evictions and demolitions of Palestinians’ homes.

Holy site in Jerusalem

The UNSC also called for “upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem in word and in practice,” and emphasized the special role of Jordan in this regard.

This is in light of last month’s controversial visit of Israeli national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

The visit enraged Palestinians and caused an uproar amongst Arab leaders who condemned the incursion and demanded Netanyahu’s government respect the status quo of al-Aqasa Mosque and respect Jordan’s role as the custodian of Muslin holy sites in Jerusalem.

The historic status quo of al-Aqsa Mosque dictates that non-Muslims can visit the holy site at specific times; they, however, cannot pray there.

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