U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will fly to Amman on Saturday for meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah II of Jordan, in an effort to stop the escalating Palestinian-Israeli violence.
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A senior official in Jerusalem said that during their meeting, Netanyahu will not present Kerry with any concessions or good-will gestures towards the Palestinians. "The prime minister will demand an end to incitement and violence, and that the Palestinian Authority take concrete steps to prove it," the senior official said. Netanyahu's flight to Berlin could be canceled should the security situation further escalate, the official added.
In addition to Kerry’s efforts, the UN Security Council is expected to begin discussions Monday on a presidential statement regarding the Temple Mount and the escalation in Jerusalem.
Negotiations on the wording of the statement – a nonbinding document that requires consensus approval – are expected to conclude Thursday or Friday. Only at that point will it become clear whether the council backs a French proposal to station international observers on the Temple Mount to monitor violations of the status quo.
Israel rejects French draft
At the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel rejects France’s proposed draft of the presidential statement. “It contains no mention of Palestinian incitement or Palestinian terror,” he said. “We’ve already seen what happens to holy sites in the Middle East, where Muslim extremists are destroying each other’s mosques, Christian sites, heritage sites and Jewish sites.
“Israel isn’t the problem on the Temple Mount, but the solution,” he added. “We uphold the status quo. We’re the only ones who do this, and we’ll continue to do it responsibly and seriously. There has been no change in the status quo other than the attempt – by people organized by the Israeli Islamic Movement and other extremists – to bring explosives into the mosques and attack Jews from the mosques.”
On Saturday, senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Israel, the United States and other countries are working against the French draft, which one senior Israeli official called “completely absurd.”