Geneva: Responding to the ongoing tension started after the Israeli attack on Palestinian worshippers at Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem, India demanded extreme restraint from both sides, underling the need for an immediate de-escalation.
India made this demand when the UN Security Council held an open meeting in the UN headquarters in Geneva to discuss the situation. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres termed the tensions as the "most serious escalation" in Gaza and Israel in years.
Describing the current hostilities as "utterly appalling", the UN chief asserted that "fighting must stop. It must stop immediately. Rockets and mortars on one side and aerial and artillery bombardments on the other must stop. I appeal to all parties to heed this call."
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti said the continuing violence, which began in East Jerusalem a week ago, is now threatening to spiral out of control. "The events of the last several days have resulted in a sharp deterioration of the security situation."
Mr Tirumurti reiterated India's strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution, while also stressing India's strong condemnation of all acts of violence, provocation, incitement and destruction.
"Immediate de-escalation is the need of the hour, so as to arrest any further slide towards the brink. We urge both sides to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that exacerbate tensions, and refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood," he said.
Mr Tirumurti said India condemns the indiscriminate rocket firings from Gaza targeting the civilian population in Israel. He added that the retaliatory strikes into Gaza have caused immense suffering and resulted in deaths, including of women and children.
During the two previously held Security Council closed meetings last week on the escalating tensions, India had expressed its deep concern over violence in Jerusalem, especially on Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramzan, and about the possible eviction process in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, an area which is part of an arrangement facilitated by the UN.