Delivered By: H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abu Shahab, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. and Deputy Permanent Representative
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At the outset, I would like to thank the Council Presidency for its prompt response to the request to hold this session to discuss the serious provocations that threaten the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque. We also thank Mr. Khaled Khiari for his briefing on the latest developments.
The UAE strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister under the protection of Israeli forces. Such provocative actions reflect a lack of commitment to the existing historical and legal status of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and they further destabilize the fragile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. They also constitute a serious development that moves the region further away from the desired path of peace, and contribute to perpetuating the negative trends of the conflict. Moreover, these actions threaten to escalate the current tensions and confrontations we are already witnessing, and contribute to fueling extremism and hatred in the region.
In this context, we condemn the vandalization of the Christian cemetery on Mount Zion, those responsible for trampling the graves, and desecrating the sanctity of this important historical and religious landmark must be held accountable. These heinous acts are part of a trend of attacks on religious sanctities, which, if left unchecked, will encourage more violations.
We stress our firm position on the need to provide full protection to Al-Aqsa Mosque and halt all violations taking place there, which provoke millions of Muslims around the world given the holy status that Al-Aqsa Mosque holds. We also emphasize the need to respect the custodial role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the holy sites and endowments in accordance with international law and the historical status quo, and not to compromise the authority of the Administration of Jerusalem’s Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs and its mandate to manage all the affairs of Haram al-Sharif, including its entry procedures.
The events of the past year and the long history of this conflict reveal that the cost of unilateral measures is very high, as they are a primary cause of the rising levels of violence and instability. They also undermine efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to achieve the two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions.
Therefore, we in the Security Council must adopt a unified position against any actions that could inflame tensions or escalate the situation in the region, including this latest attempt we witnessed on Tuesday at Al-Aqsa Mosque. We also remind the parties of their responsibilities to refrain from all measures that contribute to fueling hatred and exclusion.
In conclusion, we stress the importance of reviving regional and international efforts to advance the Middle East peace process, in order to achieve the two-state solution, and establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.