Secretary of State Kerry to meet with Netanyahu, Abbas amid ongoing violence

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Oct. 18, 2015 at 11:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed Sunday he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas this week in an effort to calm tensions that have left dozens dead in both regions.

Kerry will travel to Germany to meet with Netanyahu first and travel to an undetermined location in the Middle East to meet with Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah.

Speaking at a lunch in Paris at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's headquarters, Kerry said he will also hold a meeting during the same trip to discuss the crisis in Syria. The exact dates for the meetings have not been disclosed.

"Later this week I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu because he will be in Germany...and then I will go to the region, I will meet with President Abbas, I will meet King Abdullah [of Jordan] and others and in between I will have some key meetings on the subject of Syria with critical players," Kerry said.

Kerry's announcement came as Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group, praised the Palestinians and said standing up to Israel is the duty of all Muslims.

"It is everyone's responsibility to stand by it and help it, each with their own capabilities, abilities and circumstances," he said.

Netanyahu said Sunday his government will attack the finances of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a group he accuses of inciting the violence that began over Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in September.

In the past month, at least eight Israelis have been killed in attacks, most stabbings, by Palestinians. At the same time, at least 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

Sunday, Israel's military removed a group of Jewish worshippers following a clash with Palestinians after the worshipers attempted to enter Joseph's Tomb -- a West Bank holy site -- to pray. Authorities said they entered the site, torched by Palestinians on Friday, illegally.

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