U.N. Security Council to meet on eastern Jerusalem tensions, Israeli building plans


NEW YORK (JTA) — The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss escalating tensions in eastern Jerusalem and Israel’s plans to build more housing there and in the West Bank.

The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, is being held in response to a Jordanian request to Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations, Maria Cristina Perceval, the president of the 15-nation Security Council, Reuters reported.

Jordan, the only Arab nation on the council, cited Palestinian complaints about “the dangerously escalating tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem” as reason for seeking a meeting, according to the emailed request seen by Reuters.

Jerusalem has been at the center of violence and tension since the summer, when three Jewish teens were kidnapped and later found dead, and a Palestinian teen was abducted and burned alive in revenge.

In recent days, the tension has increased due to an attack by a Palestinian driver on a light rail station in Jerusalem that killed two, including a 3-month-old girl, and the killing by Israeli soldiers of a Palestinian teen with American citizenship accused by the Israeli military of preparing to throw a firebomb into traffic.

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly approved plans to construct at least 1,000 new housing units in eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods, but there has been no confirmation from the government. Also, the government reportedly is planning to build 2,000 more housing units in settlement blocs in the West Bank.

Diplomats are unsure if the council will issue a joint statement following the meeting because of U.S. unwillingness to support declarations critical of Israel, according to Reuters.

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