Israel-Palestine: UN calls for restraint following violence at Al-Aqsa mosque

View of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Mount Majid, visited by some 600,000 worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan View of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Mount Majid, visited by some 600,000 worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan Umme Salma / Pixabay

After the violence at the Al-Aqsa mosque, the UN calls for the rejection of violence and respect for Security at Holy Sites

Following the violent incursion of Israeli police forces into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the United Nations calls for restraint, declaring itself shocked by the images of violence inside the holy site. On April 5th, during the holy month of Ramadan, the Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear gas on Palestinian worshippers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, beating and arresting more than 350 civilians. In response, Hamas’ Palestinian militants  in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israel. 

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered the third holiest site in Islam, and is located in East Jerusalem, disputed territory between Israel and Palestine. Such an act of violence occurring during a time that, according to Muslim religion, should be a time of peace par excellence, and targeting one of Islam's major holy sites, has caused concern in the International community. At the UN Headquarters, during a press briefing, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his dismay, reiterating that the period of Ramadan “should be a time of peace and not of violence”. Mr. Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement urging Israeli and Palestinian authorities to exhibit moderation, also vehemently opposing Palestinians storing and using fireworks and stones inside the mosque. 

Another sensitive issue on which the UN has placed emphasis is the one of Safety at Holy Sites, stating that the places of worship should be for “safe and peaceful religious reflection”, and calling on all political, religious, and community leaders “to reject incitement, inflammatory rhetoric, and provocative actions”. 

Similar aggressions occurred during the holy month of Ramadan in 2021 and 2022, adding to the daily violence under Israeli occupation. These activities have started a cycle of hostility that puts civilians at danger on both sides of the Green Line. Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, declared that all parties must adhere to international law without fail in order to maintain the territory's security. If not, a culture of unfairness and impunity will be fostered and maintained.


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by Chiara Cacciatore

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