Nickolay Mladenov
Nickolay MladenovReuters

The United Nations envoy on Middle East peace, Nickolay Mladenov, on Thursday expressed deep concern over a surge in tensions and violence around Jerusalem's Old City.

“I call on all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation and on moderate voices to speak up against those who try to fuel tensions,” Mladenov said in a statement published on his website.

He welcomed the commitment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen last Friday.

“I hope these affirmations will contribute to resolving the concerns of all parties and put an end to the provocative rhetoric that has added to the escalation over the past week,” Mladenov said, noting the importance of the special role of Jordan and the historical role of King Abdullah II, as custodian of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

The latest tensions on the Temple Mount began after Israel announced a series of security measures following last week's terrorist attack at the compound.

The security measures included the placing of magnetometers (advanced metal detectors which are selective in which metals they react to) and additional security cameras around the entrances to the holy site.

These security measures prompted an outcry from the Palestinian Authority, the Jordanian Waqf and the Jordanian government, which demanded a return to the status quo. In addition, Arab rioters attacked security forces and civilian cars in eastern Jerusalem, injuring two police officers and at least one Jewish civilian on Wednesday alone.

The riots continued on Thursday night as Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet for a discussion on whether to continue the security measures on the Temple Mount. It was later decided that the security measures on the Mount will remain.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday demanded that Israel remove the metal detectors erected at the entrances to the Temple Mount following the terrorist attack.

"Within the framework of freedom of religion and worship there can be no impediment for Muslims" entering the holy site, the Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as telling President Reuven Rivlin.