Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding growing tension in Jerusalem and Palestinian territories
Following this incident, mass clashes were reported to have erupted in East Jerusalem and other West Bank areas between Israeli police and Palestinians, who were protesting about the introduction of additional Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. The Palestinians are especially worried about the metal detectors, which have been set up to check everyone who enters the complex.
Tension peaked on Friday, July 21, which the Palestinians declared to be “a day of anger.” Four Palestinians were killed in clashes and dozens were wounded. Another act of violence was reported in the fenced-in settlement of Halamish near Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territories, where a Palestinian stabbed three Israelis to death.
The Israeli authorities have sent more security forces to the West Bank and East Jerusalem and placed them on high alert.
On July 21, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side, including on security matters, until it removes the metal detectors.
On July 22 and 23, Israel was shelled from the Gaza Strip two times. In reply, the Israeli Army attacked Hamas positions in the sector.
Moscow is deeply concerned about these extremely dangerous developments, in particular the death and suffering of innocent people, both Palestinians and Israelis. We firmly condemn any terrorist attacks. We believe that there is no justification for extremism, no matter what reason is provided. We call on both sides to show restraint so as to be able to prevent the violence from escalating Palestinian-Israeli tension.
There must be free access to the holy places in East Jerusalem, which are of crucial significance to the believers of three monotheistic religions and the entire humankind.
Coordinated actions made by Israel and Jordan, which administers the religious institution that takes care of the holy site, have a special role to play in easing tension and maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount.
The latest developments have confirmed that the regular outbreaks of confrontation and violence are rooted in the dangerous dead-end on the way towards a lasting and fair Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We are convinced that this situation calls imperatively for urgent measures to stabilise the situation and reduce tension, as well as for setting the political horizon for the movement towards a lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Moscow is resolved to continue to promote this movement both at the bilateral level and also through the Middle East quartet of international intermediaries – Russia, the United States, the EU and the UN.