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UN envoy warns rising West Bank, East Jerusalem tensions ‘could spiral out of control’

The UN envoy for Middle East peace process says he is “deeply concerned” by the rising tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent weeks.

Tor Wennesland notes the death of a Palestinian teenager in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces and a woman shot dead while trying to carry out a suspected stabbing attack on Israeli troops, as well as a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank in which an Israeli was killed and two others injured. The IDF captured the suspected terrorist last night.

“I reiterate that [Israeli security forces] must exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. Perpetrators of violence on all sides must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice,” Wennesland says.

He also says a number of pending evictions of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah is “also very worrying.” The evictions are partially based on a 1970 Israeli law allowing Jews to reclaim East Jerusalem land owned by Jews before 1948.

“I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” the UN envoy says.

Wennesland concludes: “I call on political, religious and community leaders on all sides to stand firmly against violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. If unaddressed, the situation could spiral out of control.”

Screen capture from video of United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland. (YouTube)
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