At UN Security Council, US says opposes all ‘unilateral actions’ against status quo

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

NEW YORK — US Ambassador to the UN Robert A. Wood tells the Security Council that Washington is concerned about climbing tensions between Israel and the Palestinians at an emergency session on National Security Minister Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount.

Wood does not reveal how the US will vote during the Security Council session. The US effectively has veto power against both council resolutions and statements.

“We are concerned by any unilateral acts that exacerbate tensions or undermine the viability of a two-state solution,” Wood tells the council. “The US firmly supports the preservation of the historical status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem, especially on the Haram al Sharif Temple Mount.”

He says US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both firmly support the status quo and that the US appreciates Jordan’s role overseeing the holy site.

“In this spirit, we oppose any and all unilateral actions that depart from the historical status quo that are unacceptable,” Wood says.

“We note that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s platform calls for the preservation” of the status quo, he says. “We expect the government of Israel to follow through on that commitment.”

He says the US is also concerned about ongoing violence in the West Bank and calls on both sides to deescalate.

At the start of the emergency session, UAE representative to the UN Mohamed Abushahab says his country “strongly condemns the storming of Al Aqsa Mosque courtyard by an Israeli minister.”

Abushahab says the visit shows a “lack of commitment to the existing historical and legal status of the holy sites in Jerusalem and further destabilizes the fragile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

“The events of the past year and the long history of this conflict reveal that the cost of unilateral measures is very high as the primary cause of the levels of violence and instability,” he says. “We in the Security Council must adopt a unified position against any actions that could inflame tensions.”

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