The UN Security Council met Thursday to discuss the situation on the Temple Mount in light of Tuesday’s ascent of a Jewish politician to the holiest site for Jews (Ben Gvir Ascends to Temple Mount on Fast of Tevet Commemorating Siege of Jerusalem) but dispersed without a vote or a joint statement of condemnation.
PA Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour warned Israel: “Listen carefully to me. The Security Council should stop you. It is their responsibility. It’s the responsibility of this Council and of all States to uphold international law and the historic status quo. The SC should stop you, but make no mistake, if they don’t, our people will.”
Mohamed Abushahab, the UAE’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN, whose country joined the PA’s appeal to the UNSC to condemn the flagrant Jewish presence in the holy site, told the council that Ben-Gvir’s visit might jeopardize the Abraham Accords, and “it also constitutes a serious development that moves the region further away from the desired path of peace and contributes to perpetuating the negative trends of the conflict.”
Otherwise, the session ended without a condemnation of Israel, which was the best UN Envoy Gilad Erdan could hope for. Erdan applied heavy pressure on Israel’s Western friend on the council not to let the debate slide into a condemnation, which the US would have vetoed, but preferred not to.
“Minister Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount was not an invasion of al-Aqsa or any other Palestinian lie,” Erdan––who visited the Temple Mount as Internal Security Minister, Ben Gvir’s portfolio––informed the council, explaining: “The minister’s visit was in line with the status quo and anyone who claims otherwise is only inflaming the situation. Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount. Every Jew. The very fact that this discussion is being held is an insult to the intelligence.”
United States UN ambassador Robert Wood told the council his country was “concerned by any unilateral acts that exacerbate tensions or undermine the viability of a two-state solution,” and added: “We note that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing platform calls for preservation of the status quo with relation to the holy places. We expect the government of Israel to follow through on that commitment.”
Wait a minute, does this mean that after Israel consents to an independent Palestinian state, Jews would be barred from the Temple Mount? Is there any other way of understanding Ambassador Wood’s statement?
The greatest show of hypocrisy by far came from Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya, who told the council Russia expects the new Israeli Cabinet will not embark on the escalation course but will show the political will and forgo radical steps. “Such steps threaten to ultimately ‘rock’ the situation and result in large-scale armed clashes, which we have already witnessed more than once,” the Russian diplomat noted.
I’m sure he washed the blood of thousands of Ukrainian civilians from his hands before taking his seat at the council table.
Meanwhile, the name Ben Gvir has been outranking the name Netanyahu on Google Trends by far. Here’s the graph for the past 30 days, Ben Gvir is Blue, Netanyahu red: