Israelis and Palestinians "stand on the brink" says Secretary-General

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) jointly addresses journalists with Reuben Rivlin, President of Israel, in Jerusalem. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Israel and Palestine stand on the brink of a "catastrophic" period of violence, said the UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon.

Mr Ban, flew to the region on Tuesday, to help stem unrest there, and urge a return to negotiations.

Matthew Wells has more:

Violent clashes began a month ago over tensions surrounding access to a holy site in Jerusalem, revered by both Jews and Palestinians.

A series of near-daily knife attacks by Palestinians against Jews, and a heavy crackdown by Israeli security forces have left more than fifty people dead, the majority Palestinian.

Mr Ban has been meeting with top politicians from Israel and is also scheduled to have talks with their Palestinian counterparts, together with victims of the violence on both sides.

Following talks with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he said unilateral action would only make a bad situation worse:

"Israelis and Palestinians stand on the brink of another catastrophic period of violence. We need to keep the situation from escalating into a religious conflict, with potential regional implications.

The only way to end this conflict is through negotiations that produce visible, meaningful results."

The death toll reportedly mounted on Tuesday, when at least three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, and an Israeli was killed after being run over during clashes.

Just before leaving for the region, Mr Ban issued a video message calling for calm on all sides.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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