The United Nations secretary-general says Israel must "cease the demolitions and evictions" of Palestinian homes, a UN spokesman said on Sunday.

Iran Press/America: Antonio Guterres believes Israel “must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” as tensions rise in East Jerusalem al-Quds around al Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest mosque; according to arabnews.com. 

Guterres stated as Israeli police faced off with Palestinian protesters early Monday in another night of clashes in East Jerusalem al Quds, a day before, Israeli nationalists planned to parade through the Old City annually flag-waving display meant to cement Israeli claims to the contested area.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, adding: “He (Guterres) urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions.”

Guterres urged that the status quo at the holy sites be upheld and respected, Dujarric said.

Israeli police gave the go-ahead to the parade Sunday, despite days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a holy site and in a nearby Arab neighborhood where Jewish settlers are trying to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes.

In recent days, dozens of Palestinians have been wounded in clashes near the Al-Aqsa mosque. 

“The occupier plays with fire, and tampering with Jerusalem is very dangerous,” Saleh Arouri, a top Hamas official, told the militant group’s Al-Aqsa TV station.

Israel captured East Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. The Palestinians seek all three areas for a future state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as their capital.

Along with the planned evictions in East Jerusalem al-Quds, the violence has drawn condemnations from Israel’s Arab allies and expressions of concern from the United States, Europe, and the United Nations.

In Sunday night’s clashes, Palestinian protesters shouted at police and pelted them with rocks and bottles while police fired stun grenades and a water cannon to disperse the crowds. Palestinian medics said at least 14 protesters were injured. The clashes were less intense than the previous two nights. Police said over 20 police officers had been injured in recent days. But there were signs the violence was beginning to spread.

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