UN laments rising tensions in Jerusalem
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the “deteriorating security situation” this week in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where daily violence has claimed the lives of six Palestinians, including a child.
Tor Wennesland added that 26 Palestinians and seven Israelis have also been injured during the confrontations.
According to news reports, Israeli police shot a Palestinian man dead on Monday after he stabbed two officers at a gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. Militant group Hamas, reportedly claimed the attacker as a member.
The killing followed another on Sunday, when Israeli officers fired on a Palestinian who reportedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli policeman in the Old City, while later in the day, soldiers shot a Palestinian who threw a fire bomb at an army post, according to a military spokesperson.
Palestinian officials identified the assailant as a 16-year-old, who later died, according to news reports.
‘Every death is tragic’
“Every death is tragic, and every injury is lamentable, but the loss or injury of a child is particularly devastating”, said Mr. Wennesland. “I reiterate that children must never be the target of violence or put in harm’s way.”
The UN Special Coordinator called on “all concerned” in what is an increasingly volatile situation, to “refrain from actions and provocations that fuel tensions and exercise maximum restraint.
“There can be no justification for violence or terror, which must be condemned by all. Israeli security forces must use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect life”, he added.
Speak up against violence
Mr. Wennesland noted that the increasing violence was taking place “at a particularly sensitive time. I call on political, religious and community leaders to reject violence and speak up against those who try to inflame the situation.”
He said it was imperative that all involved in trying to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, to “work toward restoring hope and the prospect of a political resolution”.
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