MOSCOW, May 9. /TASS/. The Envoys of the Middle East Quartet from the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations have called on Israel’s authorities to show restraint and refrain from steps that would further escalate the situation in East Jerusalem, according to a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Sunday.
"We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days," the statement reads. The Middle East Quartet Envoys also urged the Israeli authorities to "uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites" in Jerusalem.
The Envoys from Russia, the US, the EU and the UN also expressed deep concern over the daily clashes and violence in East Jerusalem, in particular confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount on Saturday night. "We are alarmed by the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank."
"The Envoys noted with serious concern the possible evictions of Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for generations in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and voice opposition to unilateral actions, which will only escalate the already tense environment," the statement said.
Tensions in East Jerusalem started mounting since mid-April. On May 7, clashes between Israel’s border police and Palestinians broke out in two areas - near the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah, where under the Israeli court’s ruling the forces are evicting several Arab families, triggering protests among local citizens and fierce clashes, which have been underway since late April.
On Friday, Palestine’s WAFA news agency reported that about 200 Palestinians had been injured in clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem. The most violent clashes took place near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas were used against the crowd. After that, over 200 law enforcement officers stormed the courtyards and praying rooms of the mosque, forcing believers to leave the building.