Kerry renews push to ease Israel-Palestine tensions

AMMAN: United States (US) Secretary of State John Kerry is in Jordan renewing his push to ease violence and tension between Israel and the Palestinians.


Kerry was meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday in Amman.

They are exploring ideas, first raised during a Thursday meeting in Berlin between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on how to defuse the situation.

Over the past five weeks, 10 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks and 48 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire, including 27 said by Israel to be attackers.

After meeting Netanyahu, Kerry said he was cautiously optimistic about calming the situation.

Kerry has said he would like to see clarity in the rules governing access to the Jerusalem holy site at the center of the tensions.

Both Kerry and Abbas expressed hope that a solution could be found in brief comments to reporters as they began their meeting.

“All this time we had hope,” Abbas said. “We did not lose the hope.”

Kerry added: “I am hopeful.”

After seeing Abbas, Kerry will meet the Jordanian monarch and then fly to Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi King Salman.