EU urges Israel, Jordan to cooperate on security in Jerusalem

President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas (L) with Federica Mogherini [European Commission]

The EU over the weekend called on Israel and Jordan to work together to “ensure security for all” in Jerusalem’s Old City after a series of violent confrontations in recent days.

“We encourage Israel and Jordan to work together to find solutions that ensure security for all,” the European Union said in a statement on Saturday (22 July).

The comments come after a flare up of violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinians over new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site of which Jordan is the custodian.

The Middle East diplomatic quartet expressed concern on Saturday about escalating violence in Jerusalem and called on all sides to “demonstrate maximum restraint”.

The Quartet comprises the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

The envoys of the four “strongly condemn acts of terror, express their regret for all loss of innocent life caused by the violence, and hope for a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the Quartet said in a joint statement. “The Quartet Envoys call on all to demonstrate maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation,” it added.

Two Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli forces on Saturday as the army moved in to seal off an attacker’s home, following violence over security measures at an ultra-sensitive holy site.

The UN Security Council will hold closed-door talks on Monday about the spiralling violence after Egypt, France and Sweden sought a meeting to “urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported”.

The deaths followed bloodshed on Friday, when a 19-year-old Palestinian killed three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and three Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli forces.

Amid mounting pressure to respond to the dispute, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced late on Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel.

There was no immediate public reaction from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced what he called the “excessive use of force” by the Israelis in Friday’s clashes.