Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
January 5, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Assistant Secretary-General Khiari, for your briefing.

Let me start by saying that the United States remains committed to a two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a Palestinian state. And we are concerned by any unilateral acts that exacerbate tensions or undermine the viability of a two-state solution.

As underscored by both President Biden and Secretary Blinken, the United States firmly supports the preservation of the historic status quo with respect to the holy sites in Jerusalem, especially on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. We also deeply appreciate the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Secretary Blinken has said very clearly that it’s absolutely critical for all sides to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, at the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount and other holy sites in Jerusalem, both in word and in practice. In this spirit, we oppose any and all unilateral actions that depart from the historic status quo, which are unacceptable.

We note that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing platform calls for preservation of the status quo with relation to the holy places. We expect the Government of Israel to follow through on that commitment.

Colleagues, the United States is also concerned by the rise in deaths and injuries amidst heightened tensions in recent months. We urge both Israelis and Palestinians to take the necessary steps to restore calm, prevent further loss of life, and preserve the possibility of a two-state solution.

We must preserve that possibility. And we must ensure all Israelis and Palestinians enjoy equal measures of freedom, justice, security, and prosperity.

Thank you, Mr. President.