The Palestinians on Wednesday asked the UN Security Council to demand Israel take steps to end clashes at the Temple Mount in east Jerusalem and warned of a brewing religious confrontation.
Palestinian representative to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said the 15-member council must “adopt a position to call on the Israeli government to stop all these activities and policies of provocation and incitement.”
The request for a statement from the council came after renewed clashes earlier Wednesday between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount and a terror attack by a Palestinian driver who rammed his car into pedestrians, killing a border policeman.
The Temple Mount houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, and is revered by Jews as the location of the biblical Jewish temples, considered Judaism’s holiest place.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor sent a letter to the council Wednesday accusing the Palestinians of incitement and noting that there had been no UN condemnation of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
“This is the most recent example of the violence that has come in the wake of inflammatory remarks made by the Palestinian leadership,” wrote Prosor.
“I write to you today with the full expectation that the Council will continue adhering to its vow of silence. Should the Council revise its policy and deem it appropriate to condemn the Palestinians leadership’s incitement and the violence that follows, I will be the first to commend the Council for embracing sound judgment and upholding international peace and security,” he went on.
Mansour blamed the latest confrontation at the mosque on “extremists” who entered the mosque, some without taking their shoes off reportedly, which he said “is extremely provocative.”
“They are trying to push the region into religious confrontation,” Mansour told reporters after meeting with Australian Ambassador Gary Quinlan, whose country chairs the Security Council this month.
Jordan earlier recalled its ambassador from Israel and the foreign minister called on Israel to “respect the sanctity of the holy sites” following the clashes at the Temple Mount, Islam’s third holiest site.
Quinlan said there was no request for an emergency council meeting but that there were discussions on the mounting tensions in east Jerusalem.
The Temple Mount has been the scene of frequent confrontations in recent months, largely triggered by Palestinian fears that Israel was poised to allow Jewish prayer at the site.