The governments of Spain, Germany, France and Italy yesterday expressed concern about the escalating violence in East Jerusalem, hours after more than 150 Palestinians and several Israeli officers were injured in clashes between protesters and Israeli forces at the Esplanade of the Mosques.
In a joint statement, the foreign ministries of the four countries said they were “deeply concerned by the escalation of violence today in East Jerusalem on Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount”.
“In this special period of religious festivities, we call on all parties to maximum restraint, as well as to avoid violence and any form of provocation, especially on the Esplanade of the Mosques, to allow worship in peace and dignity,” the statement added.
The four countries call “to preserve and respect the historical status quo of the Holy Places of Jerusalem” and underline “the importance of Jordan’s role in this regard”.
“We remain actively committed to support all efforts towards de-escalation and recall the importance of the two-state solution as a basis for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace,” the communiqué concludes.
In the same vein, hours earlier, the EU said it was following the escalation of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem “with great concern”, before calling on the Israeli and Palestinian sides to “de-escalate” the situation and respect the status of holy sites, following the day’s clashes on the Esplanade of the Mosques.
In a statement issued by the European External Action Service, the EU says “violence must stop immediately” and urges avoiding civilian casualties “as a priority”.
“The ‘status quo’ of the holy sites must be respected in its entirety,” says the statement, which insists that cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities is “essential” in this context. It also affirms that all leaders in the area have a responsibility to act against extremists.