U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Tuesday by saying he arrived in Israel to discuss ways to restore calm.
- Netanyahu demands U.S. recognition of building in settlement blocs in exchange for Israeli steps in West Bank
- Kerry calls parents of Ezra Schwartz, who was murdered in West Bank terror attack
- Why did President Obama ignore the murder of a U.S. teenager in a terror attack?
"I am here today to talk about ways we can work together to push back against terrorism and violence and define a way forward to restore calm," he said.
Kerry said Israel has the right to defend herself against terror attacks on civilians and expressed "complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation."
"It is very clear to us that the terrorism, these acts of terrorism which have been taking place, deserve the condemnation that they are receiving," Kerry told reporters, with Netanyahu at his side.
Kerry arrived in Israel amid a surge of knife, shooting and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and security forces. The latest such incident took place Tuesday morning, when a Palestinian man rammed his car into three Israeli soldiers and a border policeman at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank, injuring all four.
Netanyahu, for his part, said prior to their meeting that there can be no peace when Israel is facing an "onslaught of terror." He said the entire world is witness to militant Islamic terrorism and that Israel is fighting those forces directly and indirectly, by targeting the sources of incitement.
"We think the international community should support Israel in its efforts to fight terror – it is not only our battle; it is everyone's battle," he said.
Kerry arrived in Israel on Tuesday morning for a short visit, his first since the breakdown of peace talks in 2014. Following his meeting with Netanyahu, he will meet President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader Isaac Herzog. Then, he will head to Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and fly out of Israel later that night.