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UN warned of danger of escalation in the Middle East

Ramallah, Mar 13 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, warned about the danger of a regional war as a result of the continued Israeli aggression against Gaza.

There is a growing risk of a broader political and security catastrophe, which must be avoided at all costs, the official said in a statement. “Any attempt by extremists to turn the conflict into a religious conflict must be rejected. Failure to do so will only lead to sowing discord and reaping more violence and extremism,” he estimated.

Wennesland assured that the war in Gaza will affect the Middle East for years to come.

The conflict in the Gaza Strip put the fragile stability of the region in great danger, he stressed, noting that Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, is characterized this year “by a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis, the collapse of the law and order in Gaza, a growing number of civilian casualties and growing instability.”

He also urged Israel, as the occupying power, to maintain the status quo in the holy sites of East Jerusalem, an area under its control since 1967. “I take note of the guarantee of the Israeli authorities to allow the Muslim population of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, accessing the holy places,” Wennesland said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to limit the entry of Muslims to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem but then backed down in the face of a wave of international criticism and warnings from Israeli security agencies, which predicted riots if the measure was carried out during Ramadan.

“I call on all parties to refrain from provocations and show maximum restraint during this period,” Wennesland urged.