UN Chief to Brief Security Council on Mideast Trip

Ban Ki-moon to brief the Security Council on his trip to the Middle East by video-conference from Ramallah.

Ben Ariel ,

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the Security Council on Wednesday on his trip to the Middle East where he is seeking to defuse weeks of violence, diplomats said Tuesday night, according to AFP.

Ban made the request to urgently speak to council members by video-conference from the city of Ramallah. The closed-door emergency meeting is scheduled for 1900 GMT.

Ban paid a surprise visit to the region on Tuesday to personally deliver a warning to both Israelis and the Palestinians to stand back from a "dangerous abyss."

The UN chief met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and was due to hold talks with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday morning.

Netanyahu during the meeting with Ban once again rejected accusations by the Palestinian Authority that Israel is seeking to change the "status quo" on the Temple Mount.

On the contrary, the prime minister accused the PA and Islamist groups of themselves attempting to breach the current arrangements, by trying to force an end to all Jewish visits to the Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism.

Netanyahu also accused Abbas of "fanning the flames," citing recent comments by Abbas in which he said he "welcomes every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem."

Rejecting accusations by some that Israel was using "excessive force" in stopping terrorist attackers, and in dealing with violent riots, Netanyahu insisted: "In the face of this terrorism Israel is acting as any democracy would to defend its citizens. We are not... using excessive force."

The Israeli prime minister also called on the international community to back Israel as it acts to protect itself, and to "hold President Abbas accountable for his dangerous words."

Ban met later Tuesday with opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog, who told the UN chief that the world cannot be silent in the face of the terrorist attacks against Israelis.

"Silence or moderate reactions of the world could be interpreted as support for terror. It should be made clear to the Palestinians that the road of terrorism leads to a dangerous deadlock," said Herzog.

Ban's report from the region will come on the eve of a ministerial-level debate at the Security Council on the way forward in the Middle East amid fears that the violence could spiral out of control.

Secretary of State John Kerry will also meet Netanyahu in Germany this week and Abbas later at an unspecified location in the Middle East.