The Status Quo governing Jerusalem’s holy sites preserves peace: UK statement at the Security Council

5 January 2023

Statement by British Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on situation in the Middle East

Firstly, the UK recognises that Jerusalem’s holy sites including Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount hold particular significance for many around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In that context, the visit made by the Israeli minister for National Security has the potential to increase tensions.

The United Kingdom strongly supports the historic Status Quo governing Jerusalem’s holy sites, which protects the sites and those who worship there, and preserves peace.

The UK also recognises and values Jordan’s important role as custodian of the holy sites and urges the importance of cooperation with the Jordanian authorities in this regard. The UK is committed to working with all parties to uphold this Status Quo in Jerusalem. All parties must avoid actions which inflame tensions, undermine the cause of peace, or unilaterally seek to alter the Status Quo.

Second, our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, ensuring that Jerusalem is the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states, with access and religious rights of all peoples fully respected.

Third, the UK reaffirms its support for a Two State Solution, based on 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the shared capital, as the only way to ensure a lasting peace between the parties. We are concerned by levels of violence in the OPTs and Israel. I encourage all parties to avoid actions that undermine the prospects of peace.

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