UN Middle East envoy warns of ‘risk of violent escalation’ after US decision on Jerusalem
Wednesday’s decision by United States President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been widely welcomed in Israel but it has also caused much anger among Palestinians and anxiety across the Middle East and beyond, the United Nations envoy on the region’s peace process told ta special Security Council meeting on Friday.
“I am particularly concerned about the potential risk of a violent escalation,” said Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, briefing the 15-member Council via video-link.
He told the Council that for both Israelis and Palestinians, Jerusalem “is and will always remain an integral part of their national identity.” Moreover, for billions of people, it serves as a symbol and a cornerstone of their Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith. “That is why it remains one of the most sensitive places in the world.”
“[Yet] there is a serious risk […] that this will spark a chain of unilateral actions, which can only undermine the achievement of our shared goal,” Mr. Mladenov warned.
Since the US announcement, widespread demonstrations and violent clashes have occurred between Palestinian protestors and Israel Security Forces throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
According to the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN’s relief wing, at least one Palestinian was killed and more than 140 injured.