Israel has rejected a Palestinian plea to the United Nations for an international force to police the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Israeli rejection of the plan was followed by two more incidents early on Saturday in which Palestinians were killed after allegedly trying to stab Israeli citizens.
“An international presence on the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound] would violate the status quo of the last several decades,” the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said on Friday.
“Israel does not think international intervention [in] the Temple Mount would be helpful or contribute to stability,” Danon added.
Tensions boiled over into violence earlier this month as Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – the third holiest site in Islam – gave way to protests and clashes that have consumed much of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
In East Jerusalem on Saturday, one Palestinian was shot and killed after attempting to stab an Israeli citizen, according to Israeli police.
In a separate incident in Hebron, the army said an Israeli settler opened fire on a Palestinian man after an alleged stabbing attempt.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said the circumstances of the killings were unclear.
“The Palestinian man in Hebron allegedly attempted to attack a settler before being shot and killed by police.
“We spoke to someone who lives next to where this incident took place; he makes clear he didn’t see the event actually happen. But people who did told him there was no attack. A knife was found at the scene afterwards, but it was more of an attack by the settler,” our correspondent said.
“In occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian was walking in the neighbourhood. He was stopped by one of the many police patrols that are operating there. They demanded to see his identity papers.
“He allegedly took out a knife and attacked the police officer. He was then shot and killed.”
Amid tit-for-tat attacks between Israelis and Palestinians, the ongoing streak of violence has left dead at least 41 Palestinians – including suspected attackers, as well as unarmed protesters and bystanders – and seven Israelis.
In Gaza, thousands assembled in areas along the Israeli border, as Israeli forces responded with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces.
The United Nations on Friday warned of a possible religious fight that could have “catastrophic consequence” for both Israelis and Palestinians.
At a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye Brook Zerihoun briefed the Security Council on the recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
“As with the many deadly incidents over the past weeks, the secretary-general strongly condemns this reprehensible act, an act that calls on all responsible to be swiftly brought to justice,” said Zerihoun.
Meanwhile, Palestine and Israel blamed each other for the escalation of tensions at the meeting.
Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of the State of Palestine, and David Roet, deputy permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, both said the other side should be held responsible for the escalation of tensions.
“Israel should receive severe punishment for the atrocity it committed on the Palestinians in Palestine’s occupied territories including East Jerusalem,” said Mansour.
“I have no doubt that if on a daily basis your citizens are being stabbed in the streets with butcher knives or shot on buses, your security forces would have reacted in the same way,” said Roet.