Toronto - United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has condemned the violence in Jerusalem on Friday, which resulted in the deaths of three young Palestinian protesters.
Toronto – United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has condemned the violence in Jerusalem on Friday, which resulted in the deaths of three young Palestinian protesters.
UN deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq quoted Guterres, saying that he “deeply deplores” the killing of three young Palestinian men while they protested the new security measures at the Al Aqsa mosque compound on Friday. The measures were put in place by Israel following the deaths of two police officers in East Jerusalem on June 14. The alleged Palestinian perpetrators were tracked to Al Aqsa where they were shot and killed by Israeli police.
Haq further quoted Guterres saying that, while the UN acknowledges that Israel’s security concerns are “legitimate,” “… on the other hand, it is important that the status quo at the site be retained.”
Guterres has called for a full investigation into Friday’s violent crackdown by Israeli police.
The first man killed in Friday’s demonstrations, 18-year-old, Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf, was shot by an Israeli settler in East Jerusalem. Muhamad Hasan Adu Ghanam, aged 20, died after being struck by live fire during a demonstration and 17-year-old, Muhamad Mahmoud Khalaf, was shot and killed by Israeli police in the West Bank.
Last week the Palestinian leadership called for a “day of rage” at the Al Aqsa site to protest the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. On Friday, fearing a mass demonstration, Israel barred access to all men under the age of 50 and buses carrying Muslim worshippers were prevented from entering Jerusalem, elevating already rising tensions.
Protesters were met by rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas courtesy of Israeli security forces. Palestinians answered by throwing rock and flares. Israeli police reported that four officers had been injured as a result.
By contrast, the Red Crescent reported at least 450 Palestinians were wounded in the demonstrations, nearly half from tear gas.
According to Israeli police, three Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian in a home in a West Bank town near Ramallah.
In a television address on Friday, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, voiced his condemnation of the crackdown. He announced that contact with Israel would be frozen, saying”I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at Al-Aqsa mosque and preserves the status quo.”
After the implementation of the new security measures at the compound, also a holy site for Jews, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promised that the status quo regarding the governing of the site “will be preserved.”