US calls on Israel to 'deescalate' tensions in Jerusalem

State Department spokeswoman says Washington is “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem.”

Elad Benari, Canada ,

US State Department
US State Department

The US on Friday called on Israel to deescalate tensions in Jerusalem, as clashes between police officers and Arabs continued in the Israeli capital.

State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said, according to Reuters, that Washington is “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem.”

“As we head into a sensitive period in the days ahead, it will be critical for all sides to ensure calm and act responsibly to deescalate tensions and avoid violent confrontation,” Porter said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized Israel for planned evacuations of Arabs in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, saying that “if ordered and implemented, [they] would violate Israel’s obligations under international law”.

“We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer,” spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday.

The statements came after clashes broke out on Friday evening between police forces and Muslim worshipers following the conclusion of prayers on the Temple Mount.

Police forces dispersed hundreds of rioters using stun grenades and other means. During the riot, the officers were pelted with rocks, bottles and other objects.

Three police officers were injured in the violence. The Red Crescent reported that 13 Arabs were injured.

Earlier, following afternoon prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque attended by about 75,000 people, riots also broke out in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.

During those riots there, police officers were seen pushing MK Ahmed Tibi from the Joint List party. Two rioters were arrested.

Late Thursday night and early Friday morning, Arab rioters attacked Jewish residents of the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood (Sheikh Jarrah), hurling rocks and firebombs.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)