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Kerry Seeks to Lower Israeli-Palestinian Tensions

  • Pamela Dockins

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brief the media before their meeting at Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Nov. 24, 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brief the media before their meeting at Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Nov. 24, 2015.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on ways to curb spiraling violence and restore security.

“No people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars,” said Kerry in a Tuesday appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Saying that Israel had “every right” to defend itself, Kerry said he and the prime minister would discuss ways to “push back” against violence and restore calm.

Netanyahu said there could be “no peace” when there was an “onslaught of terror.”

'Sources of incitement'

He said Israel was fighting against the “sources of incitement” and believed the international community should join this effort.

Kerry’s trip to Israel is his first over a year. His visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah comes at a time of heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

On Tuesday, Israeli security officials said a Palestinian motorist rammed his vehicle intro a group of soldiers in the West Bank. He wounded three of them before police shot him.

Deadly attacks

Over the past two months, at least 89 Palestinians have been killed in unrest as well as 19 Israelis and an American student.

Palestinians have been angered over what they view as Jewish encroachment on a holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

They were further angered by an Israeli government decision to allow more settlement construction on occupied land.

The body of Reuven Aviram, 51, one of two people killed Nov. 19 in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, is carried by friends and relatives during his funeral in Ramle, Israel, Nov. 20, 2015.

The body of Reuven Aviram, 51, one of two people killed Nov. 19 in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, is carried by friends and relatives during his funeral in Ramle, Israel, Nov. 20, 2015.

Later Tuesday, Kerry meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

During a U.N. human rights session, last month, Abbas said Netanyahu “prefers to blame Palestinians for everything.” Abbas also renewed a call for international support for an effort to find a two-state solution.

Regional issues

Kerry said he would also discuss broader regional issues, during his trip, including Syria’s unrest and the fight against Islamic State militants.

He traveled to Israel from the United Arab Emirates, where his talks with U.A.E. and Saudi officials focused largely efforts to find a political resolution to Syria’s crisis as well as the U.S.-led coalition effort to fight Islamic State.

He said there is "no question" he would like to see U.S. efforts to fight the Islamic State move faster, but U.S. President Barack Obama has to make the decision as to which options to exercise.

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