UN chief condemns West Bank terror attack

Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and urged all parties to prevent further escalations.

Antonio Guterres (photo credit: REUTERS)
Antonio Guterres
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres released a statement on Friday condemning the stabbing attack in Halamish earlier in the day.
The secretary-general reiterated his call “to refrain from any actions or words that could further escalate an already volatile situation.”
Earlier on Friday, Guterres had expressed concern over violence in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslims have rioted every day since police installed metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount in response to a July 14 terrorist attack.
“The secretary-general reiterates that the sanctity of religious sites should be respected as places for reflection, not violence,” his spokesman said in a statement.
Sweden, France and Egypt have requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss ways to address the deadly outbreak of Israeli- Palestinian violence, a Swedish diplomat said on Saturday.
“Sweden, France & Egypt request #UNSC to urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in #Jerusalem can be supported,” Carl Skau, the country’s ambassador to the Security Council, said on Twitter.

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon also reacted to Friday’s attack in Halamish.
“The hateful incitement and glorification of violence by the Palestinian Authority has led to the murder of innocent Israelis, stabbed to death in their home,” he said.
Danon called on the Security Council to “immediately condemn this despicable terror attack.”
“The international community must demand that Mahmoud Abbas and the PA put an end to these heinous attacks and stop their ongoing encouragement of violence,” he said.
For several months Danon has been urging the UN to “take action” against the Palestinian Authority for paying stipends to terrorists who kill Israelis.
Back in May, the ambassador sent a letter to the council pointing out that in 2016 alone, the PA had dedicated “almost $130 million of its budget to paying imprisoned terrorists.”
“They spent another $175m. in allowances to the families of so-called martyrs,” he wrote. “Altogether, the PA paid more than $300m. directly in support of terrorist every single year.”
This money, Danon said, is about 7% of the PA’s yearly budget, and almost 30% of the foreign aid donated by member states of the UN.
“It is absurd to condemn terror, while at the same time paying terrorists,” he said.
“It’s time for the UN, the Security Council, and the entire international community, to finally tell Abbas that enough is enough.”
Danon is expected to raise the issue again at a Security Council debate on the Middle East scheduled for Monday.
He will hold a press briefing on the topic shortly after the meeting, with the participation of Israeli victims of terrorism.
The World Jewish Congress called on the Palestinian Authority to take immediate action to curb incitement, following the terrorist attack on Friday night in Halamish.
“The World Jewish Congress unequivocally condemns the heinous and horrific attack in the settlement of Halamish tonight which took the lives of three innocent Israelis sitting down for Shabbat dinner,” the organization said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and with Israelis and Jewish people around the world. We demand that the Palestinian Authority take immediate measures to crack down on the incitement that led to this attack and make every effort to prevent such an atrocity from happening again.”
Anti-Defamation league CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said he was “heartbroken” by the attack, adding that “such heinous crimes are amoral and inexcusable in the name of any faith.”
Addressing the riots that erupted after metal detectors were placed at entrances to the Temple Mount, Greenblatt said that “all should have access to holy sites, but violent riots are not a reasonable response to security measures intended to prevent violence.”
He also criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s announcement that he was freezing all contacts with Israel until it removes the new security measures, saying: “At time of intense tensions when we need cooperation, leaders should work together, not cease all contact.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center directed its criticism at the World Council of Churches, which demanded a return to the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“Rather than decry the desecration of both human life and a holy site by jihadi murderers, the World Council of Churches joined the chorus of voices in the Muslim world up in arms because Israel has introduced metal detectors to increase security for Muslims, Christians and Jews,” the center said.
“The response by the WCC is perfectly consistent with the WCC’s decades-long animus against the Jewish state,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the center and its director of global social action. “In the years prior to the 1967 war, Jordan administered Jerusalem’s holy sites, desecrated every synagogue in the Old City, and barred Jews entirely from the Western Wall. The WCC never, ever protested. Yet they are prepared today to work in the name of the ‘status quo’ against the installation of metal detectors, delighting jihadist groups who dream of igniting regional or global war by suicide attacks launched from al-Aksa,” he continued.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Wiesenthal Center’s director of interfaith affairs, added, “The installation of metal detectors is taken for granted at the Vatican, at government offices, at every airport around the globe. They were first made necessary when Palestinians internationalized terrorism decades ago.”