WASHINGTON - The United States is extremely concerned about ongoing confrontations in Jerusalem, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan,” Price added. “This includes Friday’s attack on Israeli soldiers and reciprocal ‘price tag’ attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which we condemn in no uncertain terms.”
“We call on Israeli and Palestinian officials to act decisively to deescalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence,” Price added in his statement.
“It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount – in word and in practice,” he wrote.
“Leaders across the spectrum must denounce all violent acts. Security services must ensure the safety of all of Jerusalem’s residents and hold all perpetrators to account,” the statement reads.
“We are also deeply concerned about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods of Jerusalem, many of whom have lived in their homes for generations,” he continued. “As we have consistently said, it is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace. This includes evictions in east Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
He noted that the State Department is in touch with senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work on de-escalating the situation. A response was also issued by the envoys of the Middle East Quartet, which consists of the US, UN, EU and Russia. In a joint statement, the Quartet envoys said they were "alarmed by the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank."They also spoke with concern regarding the possible eviction of Palestinian families from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.The envoys called upon Israel to "exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days," but added that the status quo at the holy sites should be upheld and respected."All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement," the envoys said.