The UN Security Council will meet Thursday to discuss the controversial visit to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound by an Israeli minister that has enraged Palestinians.
The 15-member Council will convene at 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) at the United Nations headquarters in New York following a request by the United Arab Emirates and China.
There have been fears Tuesday’s visit by Israel’s new national security minister, firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir, could spark a war.
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Al-Aqsa mosque lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and is the third-holiest site in Islam. It is the most sacred place to Jews, who refer to it as Temple Mount.
Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.
In recent years, a growing number of Jews, most of them Israeli nationalists, have covertly prayed at the compound, a development decried by Palestinians.
Western governments warned such moves threaten the fragile arrangement at Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Ben-Gvir’s visit sparked a wave of international condemnation, including from the United States, a longstanding ally of Israel.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, reiterated Wednesday that the Secretary-General “calls on all to refrain from steps that could escalate tensions in and around Jerusalem.”
The UN Security Council has adopted several resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years and supports the two-state solution to peace in the Middle East.