United Arab Emirates Asks Israel to 'Assume Responsibility,' De-Escalate Violence with Palestinians

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday asked Israel to "assume responsibility" and de-escalate years of violence with Palestinians after recent clashes, the Associated Press reported.

The UAE's Foreign Ministry relayed the message to Israel on its state-run news agency due to mounting concerns over right-wing extremist groups in occupied East Jerusalem engaging in violent acts and the desire to preserve Jerusalem's history.

Israeli officials were directed by the UAE to "assume responsibility toward de-escalation and putting an end to all aggressions and practices that perpetuate tension and hostility," AP reported.

The UAE's statement emphasized the importance to maintain "maximum self-restraint to avoid the region [Jerusalem] slipping into new levels of instability in a way that threatens peace."

Recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians occurred when Israel restricted Palestinians' access by barricading a plaza where they gather to pray during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, outside of Jerusalem's Old City, according to AP.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Israeli Security Forces
Israeli security forces run on a street during clashes with Palestinian youth in the city center of the occupied West Bank town of Hebron on April 25, 2021, following a protest in support of Palestinian demonstration in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The statement was a rare rebuke of Israel by the UAE, which has welcomed tens of thousands of Israeli tourists and signed a slew of deals to strengthen bilateral ties since the administration of President Donald Trump brokered a historic and surprise deal to normalize relations between the two countries some seven months ago. The UAE move laid the path for Bahrain and Sudan to also formalize ties with Israel.

East Jerusalem contains sacred sites for Jews and Muslims.

Hundreds of young Palestinian took to the streets each evening to protest the barricades. Crowds hurled stones, firebombs and other objects at police, while officers used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse them.

Barricades were removed by Israel on Sunday evening.

The violence had escalated to cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas group.

Also last week, a far-right Israeli group called Lehava staged a massive demonstration, with demonstrators chanting "Death to Arabs" and "Arabs Get Out," just a few hundred meters from the Palestinian crowds.

Two other Mideast countries with long-standing diplomatic ties with Israel had earlier called on Israel to end the violence. Jordan, which acts as the custodian over Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites, and Egypt urged Israel in a joint statement to "stop all attacks and provocative measures" in the city.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital under the Trump administration. Palestinians, however, claim East Jerusalem as the capital for a future Palestinian state.