The UN Security Council held closed-door talks on Monday about the recent outbreak of deadly Israeli-Palestinian unrest, as Israel’s ambassador blamed Palestinian incitement for the violence.
Egypt, France and Sweden called for the Security Council discussion following clashes over the weekend that left five Palestinians dead and saw a brutal terror attack, in which a Palestinian killed three family members at a Shabbat meal in a West Bank settlement.
The Security Council heard a report from UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov during the meeting.
The crisis must be resolved by Friday to avoid an escalation of violence, Mladenov said after delivering his briefing.
“It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week,” he said. “The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution to this current crisis.”
“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,” Swedish diplomat Carl Skau said before the meeting.
Sweden is among a handful of European countries that recognize a state of 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.
Last Sunday, Israel placed metal detectors at gates to the Temple Mount in response to a shooting attack by three Arab Israelis who killed two Israeli policemen just outside the compound. They used weapons they had smuggled into the site. Israel introduced additional security equipment at entrances to the holy site overnight Saturday.
Before the council met, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon told journalists that Israel is working to calm the situation in Jerusalem, but will do whatever it deems necessary to maintain security at the Temple Mount.
“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,” he said.
Danon showed a photograph of the terror attack Friday night in Halamish, in which three members of the Salomon family were murdered.
“The Salomon family had gathered for the most joyous occasion, the birth of a new grandson. Instead, the night ended in a massacre,” he said, standing alongside a picture of the bloody floor of the family’s home. “They sat down to eat the Sabbath meal when the terrorist entered their home. He stabbed his victims to death, murdering Yosef, the 70-year-old grandfather, his daughter Haya, and his son Elad, all while the children were hidden in a room.”
Danon blamed Palestinian incitement for escalating the situation.
“This attack is not an isolated incident. It is part of a wave of terror sweeping the free world by those brainwashed by hateful teachings,” he said. “They are taught that violence and coldblooded murder is holy. The Security Council must demand that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas and the PA act immediately to end the terror and incitement before the lives of more innocent victims are lost.”