Security Council to discuss Israeli-Palestinian unrest

Meeting called as Israel deploys more troops to border with Gaza and Hamas announces Day of Rage demonstrations.

    Security Council to discuss Israeli-Palestinian unrest
    Israeli police have prevented Palestinian men under the age of 40 from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque [Reuters]

    The UN Security Council is set to hold a special meeting to discuss the spate of violence between Israelis and Palestinians in which dozens of people have been killed over the past two weeks.

    The meeting, which diplomats said was called at the request of council member Jordan, will include a briefing from the UN secretariat on the situation on the ground and will take place at 15:00 GMT, the UN said on Thursday.

    The UN meeting comes as Israel deploys more troops to the border with Gaza, where the ruling Palestinian group Hamas has called for Day of Rage demonstrations on Friday.

    Al Jazeera's correspondent reported that Israeli forces have prevented men under the age of 40 from praying in al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem as part of a bid to preclude Palestinian protests.

    RELATED: Israel deploys more troops to Gaza border for Day of Rage

    Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no resolution was planned at the moment but there might be an attempt to get the council to issue a statement aimed at urging the two sides to curb the violence.

    The unrest began last month following incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound - the third holiest site for Muslims - by right-wing Israeli groups.

    Besides the mosque, the compound in occupied East Jerusalem is home to the Islamic icon, the Dome of the Rock.

    Jews perform religious rites at the Western Wall of the compound, known as the Temple Mount in Judaism.

    Increasing force

    Protests against Israel's ongoing occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip have grown in frequency.

    Israeli forces have responded with increasing force, using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition against demonstrators.

    Speaking to local radio on Thursday, Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli justice minister and a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, said alleged attackers and their "supportive" family members would be stripped of their Jerusalem residency rights and social security.

    Most Palestinians who live in occupied East Jerusalem do not have Israeli or Palestinian Authority citizenship and instead carry an Israeli-issued residency permit.

    Shaked's announcement is the latest in a wave of harsh measures introduced amid tit-for-tat attacks between Israelis and Palestinians and violent clashes between demonstrators and Israeli forces.

    The ongoing violence has been used as "an excuse for Israel to get rid of as many Palestinians [in Jerusalem] as possible", said Rima Awad, a member of the Coalition for Jerusalem, a group that campaigns for Palestinian rights in the city.

    "The accused were neither tried nor found guilty, and there was no legal process," Awad told Al Jazeera.

    "That means their families are being collectively punished for an accusation that has not been proven legally." 

    Home demolitions

    Since the beginning of the month, at least 34 Palestinians - including people accused of attacks, as well as unarmed protesters and bystanders - and seven Israelis have been killed.

    Israel has also moved to expedite the demolition of family homes belonging to Palestinians accused of attacking Israeli forces or civilians.

    RELATED: Palestinians 'suffocating' in Jerusalem 

    On Thursday, Israeli forces delivered at least seven home demolition orders to the families of suspected Palestinian assailants, according to the rights group HaMoked.

    The families were told they had a mere 72 hours to evacuate their houses.

    Israeli troops also set up roadblocks and additional checkpoints across the city and sealed off entire Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem on Wednesday.

    - with reporting by Patrick Strickland

    The UN Security Council might attempt to issue a statement aimed at urging the two sides to curb the violence [Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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