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U.N.’s Ban says ‘provocations’ at Jerusalem holy sites must stop

Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters demonstrating against Jews visiting the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

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U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday slammed “provocations” at Jerusalem’s holy sites, hours after Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters in an atmosphere of high tension in the Holy City, Agence France-Presse reported.

“I am... deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem. These only inflame tensions and must stop,” he said at a joint news conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah.

Israeli police clashed with young Palestinian protesters demonstrating against Jews visiting the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, a spokeswoman said.

The clash after morning prayers came as demonstrators protested Orthodox Jews going to the esplanade, which is holy to both Islam and Judaism.

Ban Ki-Moon also urged Israel and the Palestinians to revive a stagnant peace process, warning that without a long-term agreement violence would resume.

“I urge Palestinians to show courage and continue engaging in the... peace process... (and) Israelis to do the same,” he said at a joint news conference in Ramallah with Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

“Time is not on the side of peace. We need to act immediately to prevent a deepening of an already unsustainable status quo.”