Ban Ki-moon has urged Israel to investigate recent clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for calm after weeks of heightened unrest with Israel.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a “prompt and transparent” probe into recent clashes would serve to determine “whether the use of force was proportional.” More clashes erupted Tuesday, including in Bethlehem following the funeral of the teenage boy.
Israel’s military has killed four people in the clashes, including the 13-year-old who was mourned on Tuesday. Last week, four Israelis died in shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank .
Ban worried about fighting “spiraling out of control.” He also criticized Israel’s demolition of homesbelonging to the families of two dead alleged Palestinian attackers (pictured). The UN chief called for “urgent action by both sides” to curb the violence, including through security cooperation.
Clashes erupted three weeks ago, at the start of the Jewish New Year and grew more violent. Fighting continued across the West Bank on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Red Crescent medical service reported that 39 people were wounded on Tuesday, including a 17-year-old boy in a serious condition after taking an Israeli military gunshot to the abdomen. The government has been roundly criticized, even in the domestic press.
‘A fiery reaction’
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he wanted to avoid escalation – his strongest attempt to restore calm since the clashes began. The plea came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take even harsher measures.
Abbas told Palestine Liberation Organization officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah that he had relayed to Israeli officials that Palestinians do not want “military and security escalations.” He added, however, that “at the same time, we will protect ourselves.”
Netanyahu has fallen under heavy pressure from within his hard-line his governing coalition to escalate the fighting with Palestinians, who have protested settlements on land that would likely be allotted to their future state.
“Leadership is needed from public leaders, including the settler movement – maybe first and foremost with the settler movement,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “We are in a continuing battle. Such a battle does not need a fiery reaction. It needs a lot of strength, a lot of tenacity, a lot of restraint.”
Abbas said he stood prepared to renew dialogue with Israel, a topic that could come up during a gathering of Middle East envoys from the US, Europe, Russia and the United Nations in Jerusalem on October 14.
In a sign that things might have taken a turn to the calmer, police reported no major incidents of violence in Jerusalem on Tuesday. However, Israel had shut the Old City of Jerusalem to Palestinians following attacks over the weekend .