As Israel continues to bombard Gaza following days of violent clampdown against Muslim worshippers in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, a top UN envoy has warned of an eruption of a "full-scale war."
"Stop the fire immediately. We're escalating towards a full-scale war," Tor Wennesland, a Norwegian diplomat and the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said on Twitter yesterday. The remarks, which were made as the US is said to be stalling on issuing a joint statement with the 15 member UN Security Council, are being viewed as a rebuke of Washington dragging its feet over the escalation in violence.
Stop the fire immediately. We're escalating towards a full scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now
— Tor Wennesland (@TWennesland) May 11, 2021
"Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation" Wennesland continued. "The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. [The] UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now."
Wennesland's remarks coincide with diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council which is expected to meet today to discuss Israel's escalation of violence in Gaza following days of violent clampdown of Muslim worshippers in the holiest nights of Ramadan in occupied East Jerusalem.
More than 300 people were injured on Monday as occupation forces violently attacked Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. On the same day, the 15-member UN body met, but Washington reportedly declined to adopt a draft statement proposed by Norway "at this point."
The draft, seen by AFP, not only voiced "grave concern regarding escalating tensions and violence," but also called on Tel Aviv to "cease settlement activities, demolitions and evictions" in all the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.
The draft also calls for "exercise of restraint, refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric, and upholding and respecting the historic status quo at the holy sites."
Asked about the US position on the statement during a press briefing yesterday, State Department spokesman Ned Price refused to answer directly.
"We want to see to it that steps, whether they emanate from the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, or the UN Security Council, serve, not to escalate or provoke, but to de-escalate," he said.