U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the bereaved family of American teenager Ezra Schwartz, who was shot to death in a terror attack in Gush Etzion last week.
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He expressed his condolences, according to a senior American official. Kerry will make a lightning visit to Israel, starting Tuesday morning. Kerry plans to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Schwartz, a yeshiva student at the time of his death, hailed from Boston, Kerry's home town. His parents have long lived in Boston, including when Kerry was senator of Massachusetts. Kerry told reporters in Abu Dhabi before calling the Schwartz family that there is no justification for Palestinian terror attacks against Israel.
"Look at Ezra Schwartz, who got shot, and another young life cut short," he said. "It happens almost every day over there and it’s terrible, and too many Israelis have been killed and stabbed, and too many Palestinians. And there’s no excuse for any of the violence. There’s just no rationale. Even if you’re unhappy and you’re disappointed in the lack of whatever the political horizon is, whatever, violence is not the solution."
Kerry remarked that during his upcoming visit to the region he would try to convince the Israelis and Palestinians to take steps to calm the violence.
"And we have to somehow get everybody to step back and give us the space to try to go back to work. We’re perfectly prepared to work, and we have ideas for how things could proceed," he said. "But this street violence doesn’t provide any leader with a framework within which they can look their people in the eye and say there’s a reason to be sitting down and talking about this or that. People aren’t in the mood for concessions; they’re in the mood for being tough and stopping it."