North Korea's Kim Jong-Un
North Korea's Kim Jong-Un Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern Tuesday about the latest escalation at the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem – but had nothing to say about North Korea's latest illegal nuclear advancement.

Ban echoed the sentiments expressed by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and also mentioned in passing "a stone throwing incident [on Sunday night – ed.] which resulted in the death of an Israeli man in East Jerusalem." He did not mention, even in passing, that stones are generally thrown at Israelis by Palestinian Arabs with the purpose of murdering them, nor that the incident happened in a modern Israeli neighborhood populated by tens of thousands of Jews.

The United States, too, took an "objective" approach to the anti-Jewish violence that took place in Jerusalem over the two-day Rosh HaShanah holiday. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that "we want all sides to refrain from violence and return to peaceful conditions... We’ve been very clear about the violence on both sides and how it needs to stop. There’s been no double standard with respect to our desire for a peaceful resolution here of these issues and no change in the status quo."

On Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan and similarly refrained from condemning the Palestinian murderers. According to an official statement, both Biden and King Abdullah "expressed concern about recent violence and rising tensions regarding Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount." [Nowhere is its Hebrew name, Har HaBayit, mentioned. – ed.]  The report added that Biden "called on all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions, and to uphold the historic status quo at the holy site."

Mathias Gillmann, Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, confirmed to IMRA on Tuesday evening that Secretary Ban had yet to make any remark regarding the announcement by North Korea of plans to grossly violate UNSC Resolutions by launching a ballistic missile in order to place a satellite in orbit.

Equal blame

Ban took advantage of the Arab violence of the past few days – which included the murder of the 64-year-old Jew – to apportion equal blame. He said they "once again underscore the importance of reaching a final status agreement through negotiations on all issues, including arrangements for the holy sites that are acceptable to all.”

At the same time, asked about the apparent North Korean provocation, Kirby refused to express a strong US position: "Yeah, we’ve seen the [North Korean] statement. I’m not going to speculate on the timing of it or any possible provocative actions by the DPRK." After being pressed, Kirby added only that "any [North Korean] satellite launch using ballistic missile technology would be a clear violation of [multiple UN Security Council] resolutions."

Middle East analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner took strong issue with the US position, noting that its call upon Israel to "refrain from provocative actions" is a "very dangerous one." He further stated that at issue are "rock-throwing hooligans who are using violence to try to change the post-1967 status quo according to which Jews and other non-Moslems could visit the Temple Mount without being threatened and/or assaulted" – yet the United States position "gives the criminals equal footing with the victims and those trying to maintain order."