UN Chief calls for preserving status quo in Jerusalem amid Israeli violations

Speaking to UN Secretary-General, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli police forces of acting “brutally” towards the peaceful worshipers, in flagrant violation of international law and the legal and historical status of the status quo in the holy city, according to media reports.

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UNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Israel to respect the status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to a statement issued by UN spokesman’s office.

The UN chief held telephonic conversations with the Palestinians and the Israeli government on Sunday during which he reiterated his commitment to support both sides in resolving the conflict, on the basis of United Nations resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements.

Speaking to UN Secretary-General, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli police forces of acting “brutally” towards the peaceful worshipers, in flagrant violation of international law and the legal and historical status of the status quo in the holy city, according to media reports.

On the other hand, the reports said, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed during the conversation with Guterres that Israel has been “the stabilizing force” in recent conflicts with Palestine. Last week, Guterres expressed his grave concern over the recent escalation in Palestinian-Israeli tensions.

On his part, the secretary-general reaffirmed his commitment to the achievement of the two-State solution based on relevant United Nations resolutions, international law, and prior agreements and the importance of restoring a political horizon.

“The Secretary-General reiterated that the status quo at the Holy Sites must be upheld and respected,” the UN statement added. Earlier to this, N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem, and called on Palestinian and Israeli leaders to help defuse the situation.

At least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police and 400 worshipers arrested inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

“He (UN chief) calls on leaders on all sides to help calm the situation,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement issued in New York Friday night.

Provocations on the holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, must stop to prevent further escalation, the statement said.

Guterres reiterated his call for the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem to be upheld and respected. “The Secretary-General reiterates his commitment to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements,” the statement added.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland is in close contact with key regional partners and the parties to calm the situation.

Tensions between Israelis and the Palestinians flared up in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past three weeks as the Jewish festival of Passover overlaps with the Muslim holy month of Ramzan.

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