Palestinian attacks are acts of terror, says Kerry

Mr John Kerry (left) meets Mr Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.
Mr John Kerry (left) meets Mr Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JERUSALEM • US Secretary of State John Kerry described a wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks as "acts of terrorism" that must be condemned as he held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on how to end the violence.

The bloodshed has been fuelled by Muslim agitation over increased Jewish visits to East Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound - Islam's third holiest site and also revered by Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples.

At the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, Mr Kerry said they would discuss ways to work together to restore calm.

With US-backed talks on a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied territory frozen since early last year, Mr Netanyahu said there could be no peace while an "onslaught of terror"continued.

Mr Kerry told reporters: "These acts of terrorism which have been taking place deserve the condemnation that they are receiving. 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."

Later, Mr Kerry met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and engaged in what he described as "a long, very constructive and serious conversation". He gave no details of steps discussed with either Mr Abbas or Mr Netanyahu to end the violence, and there was no sign progress had been made.

Eighty-six Palestinians have been killed since Oct 1, some while carrying out assaults and others in clashes with Israeli forces. Many of them were teenagers. Nineteen Israelis and an American have been killed in the Palestinian attacks.

Palestinian leaders have accused Israel of using excessive force, saying in many cases, assailants could have been detained without being killed.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Palestinian attacks are acts of terror, says Kerry'. Print Edition | Subscribe