"The status quo of the holy sites must be fully respected," five European countries say after an emergency closed-door UNSC session to discuss tensions sparked by the storming of Al Aqsa Mosque by Israeli troops.
Five European countries have called for an end to confrontations in occupied East Jerusalem following a weekend of violence that began when Israeli forces stormed Al Aqsa Mosque, in a joint statement issued after an emergency closed-door UN Security Council session.
The United Arab Emirates and China did not join the statement, despite being among the countries that called Tuesday's meeting. The emergency Security Council session was also requested by Norway, France and Ireland.
"Violence needs to stop immediately. Further civilian casualties must be prevented as a priority," the statement by Ireland, France, Estonia, Norway and Albania said.
"The status quo of the holy sites must be fully respected."
The meeting comes after days of violence in and around Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, where 170 people, mostly Palestinians, were wounded by the Israeli forces.
Al Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Tuesday to "end the cycle of violence".
In separate calls with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Blinken stressed "the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions," the State Department said.
Restoration of peace process
The five European countries also condemned "all acts of terrorism" and a rocket fire on Monday from besieged Gaza into southern Israel. Early on Tuesday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck the Palestinian enclave, the first in three months.
"The deteriorating security situation highlights the need to restore a political horizon for a credible peace process," the countries' statement said.
The UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland reiterated in a statement his calls to avoid any provocation that would heighten Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
Israel uses metal bullets to suppress protests
Earlier on Tuesday, dozens of Palestinians suffered temporary asphyxiation as the Israeli army used force to disperse protesters in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
The violence erupted after local residents in the town of Burqa, north of Nablus, organised an anti-settlement rally in response to a march held by illegal Israeli settlers towards the settlement of Homesh, witnesses said.
Israeli forces used live and metal bullets, and tear gas canisters to disperse Palestinians, who responded by hurling stones, they added.
Tension has mounted across the Palestinian territories since Friday when Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa Mosque and attacked worshippers, wounding hundreds.
Daily illegal settler incursions into the flashpoint site to celebrate the Passover holiday have further inflamed the situation.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.