The American administration is trying to restrain the escalation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holding telephone calls with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend. Kerry urged the leaders to act to reduce tensions and reinstate calm .
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The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that Netanyahu told Kerry he expects the Palestinian Authority “to stop the false, savage incitement that is causing the current terror wave.”
Kerry said the United States is aware that Israel’s policy is to preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount and not change it, the statement said.
Abbas’ office also issued a statement saying Kerry told the Palestinian president he was continuing his efforts to calm things down. Abbas told Kerry that Israel must stop allowing the settlers to carry out provocations under the IDF’s protection, which could lead to a general loss of control, the statement said.
A group of senior diplomats from the member countries of the Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — is due to come to Israel on Wednesday in a bid to reinstate the calm. The delegation will meet with the National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen, the prime minister’s advisor Isaac Molho and Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem. They will also meet senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah.
Western diplomats said the delegates intend urging both sides ways to put together confidence-building measures.
The State Department said that Kerry had expressed concern at the wave of violence during his talks with Abbas and Netanyahu and offered to help the efforts to calm things down as soon as possible.
He said it was important to denounce acts of violence firmly, fight incitement and carry out moves to reduce the tension. Kerry said the status quo on the Temple Mount must be maintained and the sides must avoid making announcements or steps that would only increase the tension.