Israel rejects French call for foreign observers at Al-Aqsa

Jerusalem, Oct 18 (IANS) Israel rejected on Sunday a French initiative to send international observers to East Jerusalem’s flashpoint site to calm a month-long spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the draft proposal as biased.

“Israel cannot accept the French draft resolution at the UN Security Council … It doesn’t mention Palestinian terrorism, and it calls for the internationalisation of the Temple Mount,” he was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

France has launched a diplomatic initiative to calm further escalation at the Al-Aqsa compound, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews who know it as the Temple Mount.

The draft proposal, reportedly presented by the French ambassador to the UN, calls to deploy international observers in Jerusalem’s flashpoint holy sites.

Israeli officials said Israel and the US are working together to thwart a vote on the proposal at the UN Security Council later this week.

Netanyahu charged that Israel is safeguarding the status quo at the holy site. “Israel is not the problem at the Temple Mount — Israel is the solution,” he asserted.

The recent wave of violence was triggered by an increasing visits of Israeli far-right activists to the site, as part of their struggle to cancel a long-held ban on Jewish prayers there.

At least 34 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed during the spate of violence.

 

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