On visit to Jerusalem, UN chief demands quick action to calm tensions
JERUSALEM - UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned of a "dangerous escalation" and urged Israelis and Palestinians to move quickly to calm nearly three weeks of unrest during a visit to Jerusalem on Tuesday.
"My visit reflects the sense of global alarm at the dangerous escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians," he told journalists after meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
"If we do not act fast, the dynamics on the ground will only get worse."
Ban is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Tuesday and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday morning.
The violence, including a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car attacks against Israelis, has raised fears of a full-scale uprising.
"It is not too late to avoid a broader crisis," Ban said, urging renewed peace efforts, with negotiations at a standstill for more than a year.
"In my meetings today and tomorrow, with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, I will be appealing to all to make concerted efforts to limit new incidents on both sides ... We must not allow extremists on either side, or those who believe violence is the answer, to further fuel the conflict."
He said that "beyond the immediate tensions, what is missing is the resolve to restore a political horizon for talks, and a political process that delivers real results and peace".
"We must, for the future of our children, come back from this dangerous abyss, safeguard the two-state solution, and lead people back to the road toward peace."
The unrest has drawn mounting international concern, with US Secretary of State John Kerry due to meet Netanyahu in Germany this week and Abbas later at an unspecified location in the Middle East.