Kerry seeks to end Palestinian-Israeli violence
KONFRONTASI-US Secretary of State John Kerry called for an end to inflammatory Israeli-Palestinian rhetoric as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who blamed the Palestinians for a recent surge of violence.
Kerry arrived in Berlin on Thursday for talks with Netanyahu.
"It is absolutely critical to end all incitement, to end all violence and to find a road forward to build the possibility, which is not there today, for a larger process," Kerry told reporters as he and Netanyahu posed for pictures.
Kerry said he hoped for steps "that take us beyond the condemnations and beyond the rhetoric."
For his part, Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians for the recent surge in killings, singling out Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"There is no question that wave of attacks is driven directly by incitement. Incitement from Hamas, incitement from the Islamist movement in Israel, and incitement, I am sorry to say, from President Abbas," he said.
A senior US State Department official told reporters that Kerry hopes to persuade both sides to "tamp down" their rhetoric during a four-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, in which he also plans to meet Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah.
His tone mirrored that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint news conference with Netanyahu on Wednesday evening.
"We have to do everything to calm down the situation and in this spirit I think all sides need to make a contribution," she said.
Israeli police said on Thursday that two suspects attempted to get on a children's school bus in Beit Shemesh, a majority ultra-orthodox area.
After they were asked why they were doing so, they attempted to stab an Israeli at the bus stop at which point they were shot by the police, witnesses said.
The Israeli, a 25-year-old man, was moderately injured, police said.
They were both taken to hospital, and Israeli police confirmed that one of the suspects died of his wounds. The second suspect was in a critical condition, a hospital spokesperson said.
In a seperate attack on Thursday, a Palestinian approached a security crossing in Hebron and attempted to stab an Israeli soldier before fleeing the scene. He has not been caught yet and no one has been injured yet.
Since October 1, 52 Palestinians - including suspected attackers, unarmed demonstrators and bystanders - have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers, while eight Israelis have been killed.
Among the causes of the turmoil are Palestinians' anger at what they see as Jewish encroachment on the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Islam's holiest site outside Saudi Arabia, which is also revered by Jews as the location of two ancient temples.[mr/aje]