Jerusalem - Photo Credit UN
CAIRO – 22 July 2017: The United Nations Secretary-General (SG), Antonio Guterres, expressed on Friday his concern about the escalating violence witnessed in the Old city of Jerusalem in recent days.
The SG spokesperson said that the SG “deeply deplores the death of three Palestinians in clashes on Friday with the Israeli forces and calls for these incidents to be fully investigated,” according to the UN official website.
According to Palestinians, Israel is trying to expand its control over Jerusalem by installing security devices and metal detectors. On Friday, three Palestinians were killed and dozens hospitalized in street clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In addition the Israeli forces said that three Israelis were killed at a West Bank settlement.
On Friday morning, Israeli forces were deployed to all areas and neighborhoods in and around the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Israeli forces set up a series of checkpoints to restrict access to Jerusalem’s Old City and banned Muslim men under the age of 50 from entering Jerusalem ahead of Friday prayers.
The Israeli forces claimed that these measures were in preparation for feared mass Palestinian protests over the installation of metal detectors there. Palestinians called for mass protests in conjunction with Friday noon prayers in Jerusalem, West Bank and the Gaza Strip and urged worshippers no to submit to Israeli security procedures. Guterres has urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to refrain from actions that could further escalate the volatile situation in Jerusalem’s Old City. He also called all political, religious and community leaders “to help reduce tension.”
“The Secretary-General reiterates that the sanctity of religious sites should be respected as places for reflection, not violence,” the spokesperson said.
He added that Guterres calls for the killings of the Palestinians "to be fully investigated."
According to the Red Crescent, 400 Palestinians were hurt Friday afternoon in clashes with Israeli forces over the Israeli-imposed metal detectors.
The Red Crescent says that while the majority of the Palestinians suffered tear gas inhalation, some were treated for injuries from live fire, rubber bullets, burning from grenades, and beating in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.