On Friday, the world community expressed grave worry over an uptick in violence in the occupied West Bank, including skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were injured and 400 worshipers were arrested in clashes with Israeli riot police inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the latest outbreak in a recent increase of violence that has stoked fears of a return to wider conflict.
The United Nations stated it was “extremely worried” about the “deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem during these holy days,” and that the provocations had to cease.
“I appeal to all political, religious, and community leaders to assist de-escalate the situation. Allowing tensions to rise further risks a new escalation, according to Ton Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
He said the UN was in close communication with important regional partners to try to calm the situation down, and he encouraged Israeli and Palestinian authorities to “quickly deescalate the situation and avoid any additional provocations by extremist elements.”
The European Union expressed its serious worry about the situation and urged for an immediate end to the violence.
“Further civilian casualties must be avoided as a matter of urgency,” said Peter Stano, the EU’s foreign affairs spokeswoman. “The status quo of the holy sites must be totally protected (and) security cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis is crucial.”
Stano reaffirmed the EU’s appeal for all parties to join in de-escalation measures, saying that all leaders must act against radicals.
In a joint statement, the foreign ministries of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain condemn the violence in East Jerusalem on Friday.
“We ask on all sides to exhibit greatest restraint, refrain from violence, and refrain from all types of provocation,” the ministries’ spokespersons said in a statement.
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority released a joint statement condemning Israel of “a hazardous and condemnable escalation that threatens to ignite the situation.”
“Israel is totally and directly liable for this crime and its consequences,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry stated.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, urged the international community should intervene right once to “halt Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa mosque and prevent things from spiraling out of control.”
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit advised against igniting the situation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and blamed Israeli occupation forces for committing major aggression against Palestinians and their right to perform rituals within Al-Aqsa.
He expressed solidarity with Jerusalemites and Palestinians, saying, “Israeli attacks on worshipers reflect a continuation of a series of Israeli violations and provocations that try to split Al-Aqsa spatially and chronologically.”
The Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General criticized Israeli police and special forces for assaulting the mosque compound, urging Israel to preserve the historical and legal status quo in occupied Jerusalem, as well as its sanctuaries, and to cease any illegal actions.
Nayef Al-Hajjraf further urged the international community to take responsibility for ensuring the safety of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its visitors, as well as Israel’s duty as an occupying state under international humanitarian law.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) stated it holds Israel “totally accountable” for the dangerous escalation, calling it an attack on the Islamic nation’s hallowed places and a flagrant breach of international treaties.
It also urged the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to put a halt to the continuous transgressions and to defend Palestinians and sacred sites.
The Israeli raid was also denounced by Egypt.
(With the help of Reuters and the Associated Press)