World calls for preserving status quo in Jerusalem holy sites

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(VOVWORLD) -The world has reacted to Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Tuesday controversial visit to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Israel calls the Temple Mount, a holy place for both Jews and Muslims.  

World calls for preserving status quo in Jerusalem holy sites - ảnh 1Israeli security forces patrol at the Al Aqsa mosque compound (Temple Mount) in East Jerusalem April 15, 2022. Photo: AFP/VNA

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasizes the importance of maintaining the status quo in the holy sites, said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN chief. Addressing a regular press conference on Wednesday in New York, Farhan Haq said the Secretary-General urges all to refrain from actions that could escalate tensions in and around the holy sites.

A spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Berlin is concerned about countries unilaterally endangering the current state of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned Ben-Gvir's controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, saying "This is an attempt to change the current historic and legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque...and a clear violation of relative international resolutions." The Ministry “calls on the international community to live up to its responsibilities and end those Israeli violations, which could fuel conflict, extremism, and instability in the region."

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement opposing any unilateral measures that violate the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem.

The Turkish Foreign Minister's Office issued a statement condemning Minister Ben-Gvir's recent "provocative" visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount, calling on Israel avoid similar actions.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday “the United States stands firmly, and we’ve been very clear, for preservation of the status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem.” Any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo is unacceptable, she added.  

Al-Aqsa mosque compound or Temple Mount is located in East Jerusalem, the territory Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed later. The area has been a central point in the escalating violence between Jews in Israel and Muslims. By convention, Jews are allowed to visit the site, but not to pray there. Ben Gvir's visit has sparked protests from Arab countries.