Palestinians want UN to examine protection force

AFP , Wednesday 14 Oct 2015

Occupied East Jerusalem
Palestinians look on as Israeli police set up a checkpoint in the occupied Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud October 14, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

The Palestinians want the United Nations to consider deploying a protection force in the occupied east Jerusalem to help quell violence, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations said Wednesday.

The proposal would be included in a draft resolution aimed at defusing weeks of clashes between Israel and the Palestinians that are raising fears of an all-out Palestinian uprising, a third intifada.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters that the situation was "very explosive" and that the Security Council must find ways of "providing protection" to the Palestinians.

"The situation warrants providing protection for our people in the occupied territory starting in the Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque," Mansour told reporters.

There were repeated clashes at east Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in September between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths.

Arab ambassadors are due to meet at the United Nations on Thursday to discuss calls for an emergency Security Council meeting to discuss the worsening violence.

Mansour said the Arab countries were weighing a possible draft resolution that demands a withdrawal of Israeli security forces from flashpoint areas and calls for the deployment of the protection force at Al-Aqsa.

"We believe that some form of observers or international force (should) be placed there in order to guarantee that the status quo will be continued and to protect the Palestinian worshippers," said Mansour.

Prospects for such a measure, however, were uncertain. The United States has condemned attacks on Israeli civilians and called for a return to calm.

The Palestinian envoy said the UN office of legal affairs had produced a 44-page report detailing options for the protection of Palestinians, but that the Security Council had yet to consult it.

Israel set up checkpoints Wednesday in Palestinian neighborhoods of the occupied east Jerusalem and mobilized hundreds of soldiers as it struggled to stop attacks.

Mansour called the checkpoints "collective punishment" and said 30 Palestinians have been killed in the recent violence, including seven children.

Ban has urged Israel to carry out a "serious review" of whether its security forces are resorting to excessive force in clashes with Palestinians.

The crisis started in late July when 18-month-old toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

The settlers smashed the windows of two homes in the village of Duma near Nablus and threw Molotov cocktails inside the buildings. Dawabsha died after sustaining serious burns.

The parents of the toddler, Riham and Saad, and their other son Ahmad lost their lives after suffering serious injuries as a result of the attack.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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