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U.N. Security Council to meet on Israeli-Palestinian violence

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the recent spate of violence between Israel and the Palestinians in which 39 people have been killed over the past two weeks.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) is seen during a news conference in Jerusalem October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The meeting, which diplomats said was called at the request of council member Jordan, will include a briefing from the U.N. secretariat on the situation on the ground and will take place at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), the United Nations said on Thursday.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no resolution was planned at the moment but there might be an attempt to get the council to issue a statement aimed at urging the two sides to curb the violence.

“All options are on the table,” a diplomat told Reuters.

Thirty-two Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed during two weeks of bloodshed. The Palestinian dead include 10 knife-wielding assailants, police said, as well as children and protesters shot in violent demonstrations.

The unrest, the most serious in years, has been triggered in part by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday Secretary‑General Ban Ki-moon “would find that the apparent excessive use of force by Israeli security forces is also troubling and demands serious review, as it only serves to exacerbate the situation, leading to a vicious cycle of needless bloodshed.”

The United States, Israel’s long-time ally and protector on the 15-nation Security Council, has traditionally balked at proposed council statements of condemnation of Israeli actions against Palestinians, even if they criticize both sides.

However, State Department spokesman John Kirby said this week that, while Israel has a right to protect itself, “we’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force.”

Council statements must be approved unanimously.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Tait