U.N. warns of escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict

A young Palestinian crawls under a barbed wire during a military-style exercise at a summer camp organized by Islamic Jihad movement, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, August 13, 2015. (Reuters)

The U.N. political chief warned Wednesday that the risk of escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is palpable.”

Jeffrey Feltman told the U.N. Security Council the past month has seen “unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel.”

With the first anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict approaching, Feltman appealed to leaders on all sides to “prevent extremists from escalating the situation and hijacking the political agenda.”

His comments follow Tuesday’s warning by Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog that a new Palestinian uprising could be looming after the recent violence. Herzog called on both sides to reduce tensions and restart peace talks.

Israel and the Palestinians have held on-again, off-again peace talks over the past two decades, and the latest round of U.S.-brokered negotiations broke down more than a year ago. Even if talks resume, the gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders are so vast that a deal is unlikely.

Feltman said the failed negotiations “have bred mistrust and, worse, the slow and painful withering of hope.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48