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UN calls for upholding status quo in Jerusalem

Norway's representative in the Palestinian Territories Tor Wennesland on February 17, 2009 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]
UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland on February 17, 2009 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/ Getty Images]

UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, yesterday called for maintaining the status quo in Jerusalem.

During his monthly brief to the UN Security Council, Wennesland said: "I reiterate that political, religious and community leaders on all sides must continue to do their part to reduce tensions, uphold the status quo at the Holy Sites, and ensure their sanctity is respected."

Meanwhile, he said, Palestinian leaders have made some commendable efforts to ease tensions, condemn attacks and rein in violence, adding that such efforts "should continue".

He also cited regional and international partners' help in restoring calm at the holy sites and ensuring continued access for Muslim worshippers.

"In the occupied West Bank and Israel, 23 Palestinians, including three women and four children, were killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis, and other incidents, and 541 Palestinians, including 30 women and 80 children, were injured," he said.

"Israeli settlers or other civilians perpetrated 66 attacks against Palestinians resulting in nine injuries and/or damage to Palestinian property."

"Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer as a result of years of severe economic and movement restrictions resulting from the Israeli closure regime… and the ongoing threat of violence"

READ: Israel closes Erez crossing to Gaza workers

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