UN Security Council Meets on Yerushalayim Crisis

UNITED NATIONS -
Israeli security forces take positions during clashes with Palestinians in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Yerushalayim’s Old City, Monday. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The U.N. Security Council held emergency consultations Monday on escalating violence in east Yerushalayim and was considering a proposed statement calling on Israel to cease evictions and calling for “restraint” and respect for “the historic status quo at the holy sites.”

Ireland’s U.N. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, who joined in calling for the emergency meeting, said “the Security Council should urgently speak out, and we hope that it will be able to do so today.”

Council diplomats said all 15 members expressed concern at the clashes and rising violence but the United States, Israel’s closest ally, said a statement might not be useful at this time. Nonetheless, the U.S. agreed to have council experts discuss the statement after all other members said the U.N.’s most powerful body must react, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations were private.

The draft statement would express the Security Council’s “grave concern” at escalating tensions and violence in the area.

The proposed statement would also demand that Israel refrain from unilateral steps “that exacerbate tensions and undermine the viability of the two-state solution.”

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun, the current council president who proposed the statement under consideration along with Norway and Tunisia, called the clashes between Israelis and Palestinians “disturbing.”

“Israeli authorities should take necessary measures to prevent violence, threats and provocations,” Zhang said.

 

Reporting by the Associated Press.