Kenya: Govt Joins World in Condemning Violence in Gaza

South African demonstrators march to Parliament to protest against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Kenya has joined the world in condemning clashes in the Gaza after Israeli troops raided a mosque, setting off a chain of violent events.

During a debate at the UN Security Council, Kenya said all sides must cease fire to enable an amicable solution.

"During the UNSC debate on the violence in East Jerusalem, Kenya urged all authorities, and particularly law enforcement, to de-escalate the situation in Jerusalem before it leads to a more extensive wave of violence," the Kenyan Permanent Mission to the UN in New York said on Tuesday after a session on Monday.

Kenya, which supports a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, said it is opposed to violence.

"We insisted that the agreed status quo on Jerusalem be respected."

Violence escalates

Despite the call at the Council on Monday, violence escalated on Tuesday after Israel bombarded Gaza with airstrikes as Hamas fired back rockets into Israeli settlements. More than two dozen Palestinians and at least five Israelis had been killed by Wednesday morning.

The UN Security Council was expected to meet again on Wednesday evening for an emergency closed-door meeting.

And the Council's members were voicing concerns at the rising tensions after Israel amassed troops at the border and Hamas promised to retaliate.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti said his country is "deeply concerned at clashes and violence in Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount".

Danger to entire region

Indian, traditionally an Israeli ally, also said the spread of violence into residential neighbourhoods were a danger to the entire region.

"India is equally concerned about evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods," he said after reports emerged of several Palestinians being evicted from their houses.

Israel and Palestine have often fought over the true flow of each other's territories and the status quo.

Between Israel and Palestine, the status quo has often implied that East Jerusalem is seen as an occupied Palestinian city, that Palestinian refugees retain right to return and that Jewish settlements remain occupied territories.

West Bank raid

From Monday, the Israeli army raided the West Bank and arrested dozens of Palestinians it linked to Hamas, the movement that governs Gaza and seen as a danger to Israel. On Tuesday, it shelled and downed a skyscraper said to have hosted Hamas offices. At least five families perished in the debris, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said both sides should de-escalate the violence for the sake of civilian safety.

"I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint.

"The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions," he said on Monday.

On Tuesday, the African Union also condemned the violence after Israeli security forces attacked the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, wounding some 300 worshippers.

"The Chairperson reiterates that the Israeli army's actions, including the continued forced, illegal evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, are in stark violation of international law and further heighten tensions in the region, complicating the search for a just and lasting solution," said a statement from the office of the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

"The Chairperson reiterates the continued strong support of the African Union with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Find lasting solution

The AU said there should be renewed genuine international efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict "based on the existence of two States, Israel and Palestine, within the framework of the relevant African Union and United Nations pronouncements."

After the incidents on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to express his "concerns regarding rocket attacks on Israel".

"The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also discussed the violence in Jerusalem, in particular on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and in Sheikh Jarrah. The Secretary reiterated his call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children," said Ned Price, spokesman for the State Department, on Tuesday night.

"The Secretary emphasised the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in safety and security, as well as enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy."

The US, under Donald Trump, had worsened the relations between Israel and Palestine when it decided to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, violating one of the pending issues that had to be discussed under the two-state solution. Palestine rejected the move, although the US relocated its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

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