United Nations, Jul 24 (AFP) Israel is working to calm the situation in Jerusalem following a flare-up of violence, but it will do whatever is necessary to maintain security at a holy site, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said today.
“We will enable everybody to come and pray on the Temple Mount, but at the same time we will do whatever is necessary to maintain security,” Ambassador Danny Danon told journalists ahead of a Security Council meeting to discuss ways to de- escalate tensions.
Egypt, France and Sweden called for the talks following clashes over the weekend that left five Palestinians dead.
The violence was triggered by new security measures put in place at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack on July 14 that killed two Israeli police officers.
Israel installed metal detectors at entrances to the site, which includes Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, in a move the Palestinians denounce as a bid by Israel to assert control.
Asked whether Israel was prepared to remove the metal detectors, Danon said: “Our goal is to calm the situation” by allowing access to the holy site, but also to “maintain security at this important place.”
The Security Council was to hear a report from UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov during a closed-door meeting later Monday.
“We hope that members of the council will send a clear message to the parties to de-escalate, to exercise restraint, to refrain from provocations, and to work together to lower tensions and discourage violence,” said Swedish diplomat Carl Skau.
Sweden is among a handful of European countries that recognize Palestine.
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said there was concern at the council about a possible escalation.
“It’s important that the Security Council plays our part in calling for calm,” Rycroft told reporters. (AFP) KJ
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.