(Photo Credit: BBC)
During the latest UN Security Council meeting, Russian diplomat and UN delegate Vasily Nebenzya condemned the recent provocation by Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who stormed the Al-Aqsa compound in east occupied Jerusalem on 3 January.
He added that this incident could not be isolated from the events that transpired in the year 2000 after former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon stormed the compound, which resulted in hundreds of deaths, triggering the Second Palestinian Intifada.
Nebenzya remarked that tensions in occupied Jerusalem are a source of destabilization in the region and that the Israeli government and Palestinian resistance should show restraint in order to prevent the new Israeli cabinet from further displacing Palestinians or confiscating their properties and lands.
Additionally, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged that the two sides resolve their differences based on Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, which could potentially result in the implementation of a two-state solution, according to WAFA news agency.
Ben Gvir has stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque before, prior to his ministerial role in Netanyahu’s government. However, recently, the eyes of the world – including those of Washington – have been pointed more closely in the direction of the extremist and racist rhetoric and policy of the new government. A sworn-in minister of an internationally recognized government engaging in such an action is expected to draw even more negative attention.
Ben Gvir has led several violent raids into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, calling for its demolition earlier last year.
In response to these raids, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned of an escalation against the occupation.
On 3 January, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward surrounding settlements following Ben Gvir’s recent provocation. Tel Aviv claimed that the retaliatory attack was most likely carried out by Hamas.