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EU, UN, Canada join US in condemning Jerusalem terror attack

International community calls for calm; Turkey, meanwhile, slams ‘barbaric’ actions on Temple Mount

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends a joint press conference with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin (not seen) at the president's residence in Jerusalem on October 13, 2014 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends a joint press conference with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin (not seen) at the president's residence in Jerusalem on October 13, 2014 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The UN, EU and Canada joined the US Thursday in condemning the terror attack in Jerusalem Wednesday in which a Palestinian man ran over groups of pedestrians before being shot dead. The attack killed one Border Police officer and left 14 people injured.

The perpetrator was identified as Ibrahim al-Akary, 48, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, who plowed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a light rail station along the seam-line between East and West Jerusalem late Wednesday morning

Hours later, another Palestinian driver, this time in the West Bank, slammed his car into three IDF soldiers standing by a road, in a second suspected terror attack in 24 hours. IDF forces found the abandoned vehicle but were on a manhunt for the driver.

The United Nations is “deeply concerned about the continued violence and tensions we’re seeing in Jerusalem,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric after the attack, adding that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the attack.

Dujarric said the situation in Jerusalem and Israeli restrictions on access at the holy sites “need to be urgently deescalated.”

Israeli security personnel at the site where an Arab man from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat drove his car into a crowd of people waiting at a light rail station in Jerusalem, November 05, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Israeli security personnel at the site where an Arab man from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat drove his car into a crowd of people waiting at a light rail station in Jerusalem, November 05, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

The EU’s new foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini urged both sides to show restraint and called Wednesday’s attack “painful evidence of the need to undertake serious efforts towards a sustainable peace agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement that Canada deplores “recent attacks where vehicles were driven intentionally into innocent bystanders. Such cowardly acts of terrorism are completely unacceptable and should be widely condemned.”

“The perpetrators of these attacks are responsible for aggravating an already tense situation. Leadership is required to prevent such violent acts and to restore calm,” he added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the terror attack in Jerusalem as “an atrocity,” while also admitting that peace efforts had gotten bogged down by what he termed “serious complications.”

Kerry met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Paris Wednesday hours after the Jerusalem attack, the latest in a series of violent incidents in Jerusalem that have roiled the capital and came as Amman said it would recall its ambassador from Israel in response to Israeli actions on the Temple Mount.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) gives a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Affairs minister Nasser Judeh prior to talks in Paris on November 5, 2014. (photo credit:  POOL AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) gives a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Affairs minister Nasser Judeh prior to talks in Paris on November 5, 2014. (photo credit: POOL AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)

“I condemn today’s terrorist act of somebody driving in another car into innocent people standing on the roadside. That is not just a terrorist act and an act of – an atrocity, but it only makes matters worse. It only raises tensions,” Kerry said at a joint press conference with Judeh.

He called on both sides to “step back and find a way to create enough calm and enough space to be able to negotiate these difficult issues.”

A peace accord remains “an urgent priority, notwithstanding the very serious complications that have grown up over the course of the last months,” Kerry said.

The US secretary of state also called on the proponents of a peace agreement to intervene and quell the violence in the capital.

“There are those who oppose peace, and people need to not allow those who oppose peace to control what is happening in the region. The peacemakers need to control it, and they need to take steps to begin to move in a different direction,” he said.

In his remarks, Judeh also emphasized the need for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “so that we don’t have another Gaza and we don’t have these continuous violations and unilateral actions.”

Earlier Wednesday, Jordan recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest at the clashes on the Temple Mount, and threatened to file a complaint with the UN.

Turkey also condemned Wednesday’s clashes on the Temple Mount, and vowed to respond.

“Israel’s violation on the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest place in the world, is cruelty to the core. We will make necessary efforts to ensure that the international community give the most active response against the Israeli aggression. I also call the world and the Muslim community to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by the Daily Sabah.

Today’s Zaman quoted Davutoglu as saying Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount were “barbaric.”

US Jewish groups decry attack

Various Jewish organizations in the US denounced the attack on Wednesday, and criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas for failing to decry the violence in the capital.

ADL head Abraham Foxman called on Abbas to “quickly and unequivocally condemn this senseless act of violence.”

“Silence from President Abbas on these incidents suggests an indifference to Palestinian terrorist activity directed at Israel, and raises questions about his commitment towards achieving a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said in a statement.

Similarly, AJC Executive Director David Harris appealed to the international community to speak out against the attack.

“Whatever the alleged ‘political’ motivations, such terrorist attacks would not be tolerated by any UN member state against their own citizens,” said Harris. “Astonishingly, PA President Mahmoud Abbas lauded the Palestinian who shot Glick, and to date has said nothing against the other terror attacks. To the contrary, he has resorted to incitement. Is this the language of a reliable peace partner with whom Israel is to pursue a two-state accord?”

B’nai B’rith International said in a statement that “this violent incident points to the constant threats faced by Israel and Israelis from terrorist organizations and their followers.”

“Following the first car attack, there was minimal outcry from the international community—an alarming lack of reaction considering there is an increasing focus on terrorist organizations, particularly in the Middle East,” it said, in reference to an attack at the Ammunition hill train stop on October 22, in which three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and 22-year-old Karen Yemima Muscara were killed.

Spencer Ho and AFP contributed to this report.

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