UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Palestinians and Israelis to respect and protect the status quo of Jerusalem’s sacred sites.
“The Secretary-General is gravely worried about the escalating security situation in Jerusalem,” according to a statement from his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
Dujarric stated that the UN chief underlined his “demand for the status quo at Jerusalem’s sacred sites to be maintained and protected.”
Several Palestinians were hurt on Friday in clashes with Israeli authorities in Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Guterres encouraged all leaders on both sides to “assist in calming the situation” and to immediately cease “provocations on the Holy Esplanade” to “avoid further escalation.”
Additionally, he reaffirmed “his commitment to assisting Palestinians and Israelis in resolving the dispute in accordance with applicable United Nations resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements.”
Since the beginning of April, tensions have been running high across the Palestinian territories as a result of numerous Israeli arrest campaigns in the West Bank.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest Muslim shrine in the world. Jews refer to the location as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was once the site of two Jewish temples.
During the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel captured East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move that the international community never acknowledged.