Netanyahu to tell Palestinians to stop 'incitement' in UN speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel's prime minister said Tuesday he planned to use a speech at the UN to tell Palestinians to stop "incitement to violence" at a Jerusalem holy site shaken by clashes in recent weeks.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who speaks at the General Assembly Thursday, also said he planned to review the situation in neighbouring Syria as well as the nuclear accord between major powers and Iran, which Israel strongly opposes.

"Israel desires peace with the Palestinians, who continue to spread lies about our policy on the Temple Mount," Netanyahu said in a statement, using the Jewish name for the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

"I'm going to demand an end to the incitation to violence."

The sensitive compound has been hit by a series of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in recent weeks, prompting international calls for calm at the site in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The clashes have coincided with a series of Jewish religious holidays, which often see an increase in the number of Jews visiting.

Israeli authorities say they have carried out raids at the compound to stop rioters from disrupting visits by non-Muslims.

Police have fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters throwing stones and petrol bombs while barricading themselves inside the mosque itself.

Muslims fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the compound, which allow Jews to visit during set hours but not pray to avoid provoking tensions.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly he is committed to maintaining the status quo despite the views of some hardliners within his governing coalition.

A campaign by a hardline Jewish minority to build a new temple at the site has further stoked suspicions among Palestinians.

"Israel is committed to respecting the status quo, and the fact that Palestinians are bringing weapons into the site desecrates the holy place and violates the status quo," Netanyahu said Tuesday.

The right-wing premier also said he would express Israel's concerns over the nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu has repeatedly argued will not block Tehran's path to nuclear weapons.

He has said the lifting of sanctions under the deal will allow Iran to further back proxy militants in the region, including Israeli enemies Hezbollah and Hamas.

Netanyahu lobbied fiercely against the deal before it was adopted and sharply criticised it in the weeks afterward, but has recently eased off amid criticism at home about damage to Israel's relations with the United States, its most important ally.

"The world must know how the Israelis feel after the nuclear agreement with Iran and what we expect from the international community following the deal," he said Tuesday.

Netanyahu is also set to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday.