(May 10, 2021 / JNS) Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan condemned the international reaction to violence in Jerusalem on Monday, saying it helped spur Palestinian violence.
“What we are seeing now is the direct result of the international community’s failure to understand the reasons behind the Palestinians’ violence,” he said in a taped statement posted on Twitter.
“The U.N., the Security Council, the Quartet and many others who have refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian incitement have only served to embolden Hamas terrorists, [which is] now firing rockets at Jerusalem and innocent civilians all over Israel!”
Erdan pointed to ways the Israeli government has tried in recent days to defuse tensions, including halting Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. But working against them, he said, is Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has been using every excuse to justify the violence as Jews celebrated Jerusalem Day on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting that resulted in no action as tensions escalated in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinian, and rockets fell on Israel from Hamas in Gaza, prompting a response from the Israeli Defense Forces.
“Israel has no other choice but to defend its citizens from these indiscriminate attacks, and we demand that the international community hold the Palestinians accountable and forcibly condemn their actions,” said Erdan.
According to Agence France-Presse, the closed-door videoconference of the Security Council was intended to finalize a statement on the Jerusalem riots put forth by Norway, but the United States convinced the 15-nation body that a statement would not help the situation.
The draft statement, proposed by Norway, Tunisia and China, voiced concern over escalating tensions and called for the exercise of restraint. Tunisia, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, called for the emergency meeting.
Erdan’s predecessor, former U.N. Ambassador to Israel Danny Danon, predicted the results of a potential statement if it was released
“One thing which I cannot accept is to hear from different countries the remark calling both sides to show restraint. It’s unacceptable to use the term both sides. You cannot put Israel, a sovereign democracy, together with a terrorist organization who are sending rockets into civilian populations,” he said.
Danon also noted that Israel anticipated the response from the Palestinians, as Abbas has been trying to deflect attention from his postponing of elections in the West Bank by blaming Israel.
“I would just say that during the day, the government actually tried to contain the violence, but unfortunately, it brought more and more aggression. So by its decision not to allow Jews to go to the Temple Mount today or to cancel one of the marches in the old city, it didn’t help. On the contrary, it brought more violence,” he said.
Danon said that Israel should instead show resilience to the threat of violence and continue guaranteeing religious freedom for all religions.
“I think we should not cave in. We should practice our sovereignty. We should do whatever is necessary to allow everybody freedom of religion in Jerusalem,” he said.
“We are very proud that Israel is the only capital in the Middle East where you can actually find in proximity holy sites for three main religions, but we should not take it for granted, and we should ensure that tomorrow morning, Christians and Jews and Muslims will be able to pray freely and safely. We have to do whatever is necessary to allow every Jew to feel safe when he wants to go and practice his religion in the Western Wall.”
‘Take practical steps to calm things down’
The United States also condemned the barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip, calling the attacks “unacceptable.” It also asked all sides to de-escalate tensions while defending Israel’s right to defend itself.
“We’re deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including the violent confrontations in Jerusalem … that has resulted in at least 180 additional injuries, as well as the rocket fire from Gaza hitting houses in Jerusalem and the threat of further rocket attacks,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at the start of his daily briefing.
“The United States will remain fully engaged to promote calm in Jerusalem, and we welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations, including the decision to avoid confrontations during the Jerusalem Day commemoration and the delay in the decision regarding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions,” he said.
Later on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also strongly condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas, saying they “need to stop immediately.”
“All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down,” he said.
Hamas had fired at least 150 rockets towards Israel by late Monday, including several that were aimed at Jerusalem.
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