Israel needs to cease settlers: Abbas tells Kerry

Ramallah, Oct 11 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday over phone that Israel needs to stop its settlers from provoking the Palestinians “under the protection” of the Israeli army.

In their telephone conversation, Abbas told US Secretary of State John Kerry that situation is going to be out of control if the Israelis continue to allow their settlers to provoke the Palestinians, according to the official Palestinian news agency of Wafa.

Kerry and Abbas also discussed the latest development in the Palestinian territory, said the report, adding that Kerry urged more efforts to maintain calmness and stop further escalation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Kerry on Friday, according to Netanyahu’s Facebook page. While talking to Kerry, Netanyahu said he expected the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to stop “the falsified and brutal incitement that sparked the current wage of terror,” the Facebook statement read.

Kerry, according to the same source, stressed that the US understands that Israel’s policy aims to maintain the status quo at the holy sites.

Tension is still escalating in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem where 20 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed in the past ten days, according to official medical reports. More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured in the violent clashes that had broken out in the Palestinian territories since the start of this month.

Israeli sources did not comment on the claim.

The current round of violence has flared up mid September after Palestinians protested allowing Jewish groups to al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem. Palestinians say Israel wants to change the status quo at the site they consider holy.

The escalation expanded to other areas after an Israeli couple were killed in a shooting ambush near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and two others were stabbed in east Jerusalem early October.

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