PLO leaders to discuss Ben-Gvir's visit to the Temple Mount

The Palestinians, Jordan and other Arab countries have strongly condemned the visit, dubbing it a "dangerous and unprecedented provocation."

 National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 (photo credit: PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTRY)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount on Tuesday, January 3, 2023
(photo credit: PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTRY)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to chair a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee on Thursday to discuss ways of confronting the policies of the new Israeli government, a Palestinian official said.

The PLO leaders are also expected to discuss the repercussions of Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) on Tuesday morning, the official added.

The Palestinians, Jordan and other Arab countries have strongly condemned the visit, dubbing it a “dangerous and unprecedented provocation and a challenge to the feelings of Muslims and Arabs.”

Ramzi Rabah, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the Palestinian Alwatanvoice news website the PLO leaders will also discuss demands to cancel all signed agreements with Israel as well as pursuing efforts to denounce and isolate Israel and hold it accountable for its “crimes” against the Palestinians.

PLO officials and institutions have in the past recommended that the Palestinian leadership rescind all agreements with Israel and halt security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and the IDF in the West Bank. Abbas, however, has refused to implement the recommendations.

 An Israeli security officer looks on at Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) An Israeli security officer looks on at Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Security Council to hold emergency meeting 

Riad Mansour, the PA envoy to the United Nations, said the Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss Israel’s “breach of the status quo in Jerusalem” in the aftermath of Ben-Gvir’s “storming” of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The session is being held at the request of the Palestinians and Jordan, Mansour said, adding that the move was backed by the United Arab Emirates and China.

Ahead of the session, Arab and Muslim ambassadors will hold a series of meetings to coordinate their moves, he added. The ambassadors are also expected to meet with the president of the Security Council.

On Tuesday evening, Abbas instructed the Palestinian mission to the UN to immediately work toward ensuring that the Security Council condemn “assaults on the al-Aqsa Mosque by members of the Israeli government and extremist groups.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Security Council to “provide international protection for Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

The call came in response to Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount and the vandalism of more than 30 Christian graves in the Jerusalem Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion.

The ministry also urged the US administration to “translate its words into deeds and protect Jerusalem and its holy sites and curb the actions of the extremists in the Israeli government.”

The ministry claimed that the “provocative Israeli practices fall within the framework of Israeli plans aimed at Judaizing Jerusalem and its Christian and Islamic holy sites.”

According to the ministry, the attack on the cemetery, which came shortly after Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount, is “a clear indication of the extent of extremism, racism and aggression of the government of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”

In a related development, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh appealed to Arab and Muslim leaders to take “urgent action and practical steps to save the al-Aqsa Mosque and stop the aggressive practices of the extremists.”

Haniyeh described Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount as “a dangerous development that can’t be tolerated or accepted.” The Hamas leader warned that the visit and the policies of the new Israeli government would lead to a new confrontation that would have direct repercussions on the region.