Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process have both condemned the murder of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem, and called on both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from exacerbating an already tense situation.
Mohammed Abu Khdair, 17, was reportedly seen being forced into a car early on Wednesday. Media reports say his partly burnt body was found in a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The killing comes in the wake of the recent murder of three Israeli teenagers, which had been widely condemned by the UN.
Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, described the murder of the Palestinian teenager as a “despicable act” and called for the perpetrators to be promptly brought to justice.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to ensure that tensions do not escalate further, leading to more loss of life,” the statement added.
UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry also called for the perpetrators of such “heinous acts” to be brought to justice. “There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians – any civilians,” he said in a statement issued in Jerusalem.
Mr. Serry repeated his call on all sides to do everything they can not to further exacerbate an already tense atmosphere.
In a statement issued to the press, the members of the UN Security Council condemned “in the strongest terms” the killing of the Palestinian teenager. They also underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of this “deplorable” act to justice, and called for immediate calm.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) also strongly condemned the killing of the Palestinian boy, as well as the recent murder of the three Israeli teenagers.
“At the same time, we urge maximum restraint from all parties to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in a statement. “We call for strict compliance with international law by all relevant actors to avoid further loss of life, injuries and suffering.”
Recalling that collective punishment is illegal under international law, UNRWA called on the Israeli authorities to refrain from punishing individuals for offences they themselves have not personally committed.
The agency stressed that the human impact on all sides caused by the events of the last three weeks is “grave.” From 13 June to 1 July, seven Palestinians have been killed, including five registered refugees, while almost 200 have been injured.