UN chief urges Israel to show 'restraint'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expresses concern over tensions in Jerusalem.

Elad Benari ,

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday expressed concern over the tensions in the Old City of Jerusalem, urging Israel to “demonstrate restraint”.

“I reiterate my concern over the situation in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is essential to fully respect the status quo at the holy sites as before July 14,” he said in a statement.

“I welcome the dialogue between Israel and Jordan, in line with the Hashemite Kingdom's special and historic role, and encourage continued discussions on how to ensure security for both worshippers and visitors,” continued Guterres.

“I am particularly concerned about the potential risk of escalating violence; urge all political, religious and community leaders to refrain from provocative action and rhetoric; and call on Israel to demonstrate restraint,” the statement concluded.

The tensions on the Temple Mount began after Israel installed advanced security measures, including metal detectors known as magnetometers, at the compound. The move came after a terrorist attack at the compound in which two Druze police officers were murdered.

The security measures prompted an outcry from the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Jordanian Waqf which administers the site, and the Jordanian government. The Waqf have refused to enter the compound in protest of the new measures and have prayed in the streets outside.

In addition, Arabs have rioted and clashed with security forces in and around the Old City.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors that were placed at the entrance to the compound and replace them with new security measures based on advanced technologies.

Following that decision, Israel removed the security cameras from the Mount and, on Wednesday night, removed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted.