Kerry visits Jerusalem amid escalating violence

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to Jerusalem to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid ongoing unrest and rapidly escalating violence

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015.

US Secretary of State John Kerry made his first trip to Jerusalem since 2014 on Tuesday amid a massive wave of violence that so far killed 89 Palestinians and 20 Israelis.

Kerry’s visit does not include ambitious goals, like jump starting stalled peace talks, or reaching a resolution that could end bloodshed before US President Barack Obama’s time in the White House elapse.

The secretary of state described Palestinian stabbing attacks as “terrorists attacks that should be condemned” in his talks with Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The one day visit will also see Kerry visiting Palestinian territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and US. Secretary of State John Kerry leave the microphones after speaking briefly to the media before their meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015.

"It is very clear to us that the terrorism, these acts of terrorism which have been taking place, deserve the condemnation that they are receiving," Kerry told reporters, with Netanyahu at his side.

"And today I express my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation."

Kerry is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the day in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinian leaders, one of whom is Abbas, have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell alleged attacks.

The unrest in the occupied territories unfolds quickly, on Monday alone, a Palestinian girl in Jerusalem and two Palestinian young men in the occupied West Bank were shot dead in separate incidents. All Palestinian fatalities on Monday were of 16-years-old.

Shortly before Kerry and Netanyahu’s meeting in Jerusalem, a Palestinian was fatally shot after allegedly ramming his car into three Israeli soldiers and a paramilitary border policeman along a road in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian driver consequently died and the Israeli policemen survived the attack with minor injuries.

Palestinian men carry the body of Mahmoud Eleyan, 22, during his funeral in the West Bank village of Anata, near Jerusalem. Eleyan died after Israeli army brutally dispersed a march. November 20, 2015.

Palestinians say the recent violence is the result of frustration from nearly a half-century of occupation and they accuse Israel of using excessive force to suppress the unrest. While Israel says it has been caused by a Palestinian campaign of lies and provocation surrounding the Muslim holy site of Al Aqsa Mosque.

Kerry was in Abu Dhabi on Monday, where he said Washington had ideas "for how things could proceed" to try to stem the violence in the occupied territories.

However, he cautioned that "People aren't in the mood for concessions."

US. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) talks before a meeting with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 23, 2015,

During his brief stay in Abu Dhabi, Syria was high up the list of priorities in Kerry’s talks. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir sat with Kerry to discuss how to unify opponents of the Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, a senior US State Department official told Reuters.

TRTWorld and agencies