France is drafting a UN Security Council presidential statement to advance an initiative calling for deployment of international observers to Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount. Le Figaro newspaper reported the proposal is intended to ensure the status quo is maintained and to help quell recent violence which has surrounded the holy sites in Israel. A presidential statement is not a binding resolution, but is a statement of intent, requiring the unanimous support of the 15 member of the Security Council to be published as such.
Israel objects to any international observers on the Temple Mount. Israel’s Deputy Ambassador David Roet told the UN Security Council,
“Let me be crystal clear — Israel will not agree to any international presence on the Temple Mount. Such a presence would be a change in the status quo.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has requested such a move. PA representative at the UN, Riyad Mansour said to the council, “It is the responsibility of the United Nations and the international community and Security Council to provide protection for our people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu has asserted many times in recent weeks that he is committed to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites, which prohibits non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount but permits non-Muslim access.
The PA has been maneuvering in the UN to gain control of Jewish holy sites while avoiding negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian Authority presented a proposal to the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in an attempt to give the Muslim authority (Waqf) control of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Thursday night, Arab rioters set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (Shechem). The attack was condemned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.