UN's Ban calls Netanyahu, Abbas, urging leaders to take stand against extremists

UN chief expresses concern that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "may quickly morph into a religious conflict."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  (photo credit: REUTERS)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon placed separate telephone calls to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, expressing extreme alarm at the upsurge in violence in recent weeks.
According to a readout of the calls released by Ban's office, he warned the leaders that the "dangerous downward spiral must urgently be reversed."
Ban emphasized to the two leaders that "at this delicate and dangerous juncture, courage and responsibility are required from both the president and the prime minister to take a stand that may be contrary to extremists in their own domestic constituencies."
He expressed hope that confidence-building measures and firm commitments made by both sides at separate meetings the leaders held with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian King Abdullah in Amman last week to maintain the status quo at the Temple Mount would be further translated into a de-escalation of tensions.
"Absent this, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may quickly morph into a religious conflict, over which the international community will have limited, if no, leverage," Ban stated.