Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the UN to provide international protection to the Palestinians in the face of escalating violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
According to a report in the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, Abbas spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the phone on Sunday, and urged him to act to stop what he called Israeli provocations, “before things get out of control.”
Ban reportedly promised that he would speak soon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find a way to calm tensions.
Netanyahu has partly blamed Abbas for inciting the escalated hostilities, which have seen four Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists in the past four days. Abbas has alleged — including in a speech to the UN last Wednesday — that Israel is allowing “extremists” into Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount and that Israel plans to change the status quo regarding access to the contest holy site. Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected these claims.
The UN chief said Sunday he was “deeply concerned” by recent regional events and urged both sides to “condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation.”
An adviser to Abbas said Monday that Palestinian leadership was not interested in a third intifada, and blamed Israel and Hamas for stoking the fires, Israel Radio reported.
Hamas, Nimar Hamad told a Palestinian news website, was working to undermine PA leadership in the West Bank and foment violence, while Jerusalem was interested in portraying Ramallah leadership as warmongering.
An official statement from the PA chief’s office Monday claimed that “the Israeli side and its government have an interest in dragging things into a cycle of violence and are trying through escalation at al-Aqsa and settler attacks to escape their political impasse and international isolation.”
The Red Crescent said Monday that 456 Palestinians had been wounded within the past 24 hours in various confrontations with Israeli security forces, Israel Radio reported. The Palestinian medical organization added that 36 of the wounded suffered injuries from live ammunition, while 136 were hit by rubber pellets. Many others were hurt from inhaling tear gas. Israel did not confirm the figures.
Meanwhile Jerusalem Jews pelted several Palestinian vehicles with rocks in northern Jerusalem, near the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. There were no reported injuries. A Jewish resident of Ramat Shlomo was arrested on suspicion of involvement.
Israeli military forces on Sunday night raided the West Bank home of the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed and killed two Israelis on Saturday, Israel Radio reported, quoting Palestinian sources.
According to the report it was the second time in the past day that troops swept through the village of Sudra, near Ramallah, the home of 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi who murdered Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in Jerusalem’s Old City. Halabi himself was shot dead by security forces at the scene of the attack.
An 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces in clashes near the West Bank city of Tulkarem Sunday night.
The youth’s death came as the military said hundreds of Palestinians — at a rally organized by Hamas — threw firebombs, rolled burning tires and threw rocks at soldiers who eventually opened fire after using tear gas and stun grenades.
Also, Israeli police said Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs in mostly Arab areas of Jerusalem overnight.
Much of the recent violence has stemmed from tensions surrounding the Temple Mount compound, sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
There have been several days of clashes at the site over the past few weeks as Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque while hurling stones, firebombs and fireworks at police. The unrest later spread to Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and to the West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening wrapped up a four-hour security meeting on the recent uptick in violence and ordered new security measures be implemented in light of the terror upsurge.
According to Channel 2, among the measures discussed to combat the recent wave of violence were an increase in the use of administrative detention (the jailing of suspects without trial) for Palestinians rioters and terror suspects, an increase in the deployment of security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the reintroduction of the controversial policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes.
In the Gaza Strip Israeli jets bombed a Hamas target early Monday morning after a Palestinian terror group launched a rocket into southern Israel.
Palestinian media in Gaza reported Israeli strikes shortly after 2:30 a.m., a matter of hours after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip Sunday night landed in open territory in the Eshkol Regional Council in southern Israel, causing neither injury or damage.
AP and AFP contributed to this report.