State Dept. Spox: Kerry Didn’t Affix Blame on Violence in Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is initiating a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in an attempt to reduce the violence and restore calm in Israel, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Wednesday.

The report said that the meeting would likely take place in Jordan.

Asked to confirm the media reports, State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that Sec. Kerry intends to travel to the region – “which will happen soon” – but didn’t provide any details. He did, however, indicate that the location would not be Israel or the Palestinian territories.

On Tuesday, Kerry announced his plan to travel to the region. “We’re working on trying to calm things down,” he said during a Q&A at Harvard University. “And I will go there soon at some point appropriately and try to work to re-engage and see if we can’t move that away from this precipice.”

At the event, the Sec. of State also seemed to attribute Israel’s settlement activity to the recent 28 terrorist stabbing attacks across Israel. “So here’s the deal. What’s happening is that unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement,” said Kerry.

But Kirby insisted that Kerry didn’t try to affix blame “in either direction” to the recent wave of terror.

The State Department spokesperson did express “concern” that recent actions by Israeli forces, in measures taken to respond to the rise in violence, “could indicate the potential use of excessive force.”

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