The status quo of Al-Aqsa must be maintained

07 January 2023

If United Nation's Security Council members would have taken a resolution committing to a punitive action against Israel for the controversial visit of the Israel's new far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gavir at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound a few days ago, that would not perhaps altered the scenario much in the region as long as the US is there to stand beside the apartheid state Israel. Yet a UNSC meeting on January 6 calling for preserving the status quo at the sacred site is welcome.  
The past is littered with conscience-less vetoes by the US in favour of Israel. The visit by Ben-Gavir is indeed "an unprecedented provocation" as described by Palestinian leaders. The OIC as well as Arab states---some of which have normalised its relation with Israel---and Turkey condemned Ben-Gavir's visit.
Israel's far right wants to change the decades-old status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound that allows only Muslim worship at the site, their third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina. The Jews call it Temple Mount and want to establish their worship at the site. In the past, the far right in Israel raised the call for building a temple in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The UN Security Council has failed to protect the rights of the Palestinians, finding a durable solution to the occupation of the land of Palestinians by Israelis. The two-state solution allowing Palestinians and Israelis living side by side is not even in talk now with the US, a broker of peace in the region, continually giving support to Israel's illegal settlement activities in the name of its right to security all the while helping it with money and arms.
The blatant murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh by the Israeli soldier has not seen justice yet and will not see it in future. With a Zionist US President Joe Biden at the White House – remember Joe Biden's remark at Tel Aviv on July 23: "You need not be a Jew to be a Zionist'– little hope is left for the Palestinians of their rights.        
But Palestinians are continuing to get moral support from countries and peoples around the world and that is for them the red line of hope. The US calls itself a champion of human rights, but when it is the cause of Palestinians its double standard is nauseating.    
The sacred Al-Aqsa mosque is at the heart of Islamic belief. Let alone a change in the status quo, a provocation like the one incited by Ben-Gavir can create a serious uprising among the Palestinians who are struggling for a separate state of their own in their own land. The international community needs to be aware of this.

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