United Nations (United States) (AFP)
The UN Security Council held an urgent meeting on Monday on the unrest in Jerusalem, but did not issue any immediate statement, with diplomats saying the United States believed the public comments would be counterproductive.
Negotiations continue between the 15 member countries of the Security Council on a text that could be watered down from an initial draft proposed by Norway, diplomats said.
The United States, according to a diplomat, said on the closed-door video conference that it was “working behind the scenes” to calm the situation and that it was “not sure that a statement at this stage could help” .
The Security Council meeting came after US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan phoned his Israeli counterpart and expressed “serious concerns” about possible Israeli deportations of Palestinians in the holy city that have helped fuel the tensions.
Shortly after the Security Council meeting, the organizers of a pro-Israel march that had become a critical point called off the event.
The draft Security Council declaration, seen by AFP, would call on Israel to “cease settlement activities, demolitions and evictions”, including in East Jerusalem.
The Norwegian project was presented jointly with Tunisia, another non-permanent member who convened Monday’s meeting, as well as China.
In the draft declaration, which is a step below a resolution, the members of the Security Council would express “their grave concern at the escalation of tensions and violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem”, which Israel has annexed and considers part of its capital.
The project also calls for “to exercise restraint, refrain from any provocative and rhetorical action, and maintain and respect the historic status quo in holy places.”
The US mission to the United Nations did not immediately comment on the Security Council meeting.
The United States is Israel’s main ally, but President Joe Biden has also sought to support Palestinian rights in the wake of Donald Trump’s hawkish pro-Israel administration.
More than 300 people were injured on Monday as violent clashes broke out again between Israeli police and Palestinians in the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is sacred in both Islam and Judaism.
© 2021 AFP