Israeli, Palestinian envoys spar at UN over Al-Aqsa visit

Israeli and Palestinian envoys to the United Nations on Thursday traded heated barbs at a Security Council meeting over the controversial visit by an Israeli minister to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, called the session "pathetic" and "absurd" while the Palestinian envoy accused the Jewish state of acting "with absolute contempt."

The 15-member Council discussed the visit, which has enraged Palestinians, at UN headquarters in New York following a request by the United Arab Emirates and China.

Ahead of the session, Israel's permanent representative to the world body, Gilad Erdan, told reporters there was "absolutely no reason" for the meeting to be held.

"To hold a Security Council session on a non-event is truly absurd," he said.

Tuesday's visit by Israel's new national security minister, firebrand Itamar Ben-Gvir, sparked a wave of international condemnation, including from the United States, a longstanding ally of Israel.

Al-Aqsa mosque lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and is the third-holiest site in Islam.

Erdan said Ben-Gvir's visit was "in line with the status quo and whoever claims otherwise is only inflaming the situation."

"To claim that this brief and completely legitimate visit should spark an emergency Security Council session is pathetic," he added.

Western governments warned such moves threaten the fragile arrangement at Jerusalem's holy sites.

The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, accused Israel of acting "with absolute contempt" for the Palestinians, the Council, and the entire international community.

He called on members of the Council to take action against Israel.

"What red line does Israel...

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