UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Israel does not seek escalation with Gaza but has the right and duty to defend itself, Israeli Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said in a letter to the UN Security Council seen by Sputnik.
“The State of Israel is not interested in an escalation. However, Israel has the right and duty to defend its people and sovereignty and will continue to do so vigorously”, Erdan said in a letter dated 12 May.
The ambassador said since Monday morning, more than 1,500 rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli communities, resulting in seven fatalities and hundreds of more people being injured.
“As of today, millions of Israeli civilians are under relentless attacks by these terrorist organizations and are forced to remain in shelters”, he said.
Erdan also pointed out Israel continued to ensure freedom of worship for Muslims on the Temple Mount. According to him, hundreds of thousands of Muslims visit the site every year, and this status quo will not change.
Large-scale clashes broke out from 7-10 May between Palestinians and the Israeli police, leading to the sharpest escalation in the Gaza Strip in recent years. Riots began in two areas of East Jerusalem at once - near the Temple Mount and in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter, where several Arab families are being evicted by an Israeli court decision.