Kerry, Netanyahu to meet amid wave of violence

Kerry, Netanyahu to meet amid wave of violence
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryPompeo announces Israeli settlements do not violate international law Deval Patrick's 2020 entry raises stakes in New Hampshire Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE next week amid a string of violent attacks in Israel and criticism about the Obama administration’s response.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Friday confirmed that the meeting is expected to occur in Germany, though he declined to offer additional details about Kerry’s trip, such as when or if he will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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The meeting comes on the heels of two weeks of deadly violence in Israel, which has so far resulted in the deaths of eight Israeli civilians in attacks from Palestinians. Thirty-one Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli forces, including 14 whom the government has identified as attackers.

The deadly violence has shocked the region and sparked fears about a new prolonged uprising. In part, the renewed tensions stem from Palestinian concerns that Israel has tried to restrict access to one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The complex is also sacred to Jewish people, who know it as the Temple Mount.

In response, the Obama administration has called for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to push for calm, a tone that has outraged some ardent allies of Israel.

“Right now, everybody needs to focus on making sure that innocent people aren’t being killed,” President Obama said during a press conference on Friday afternoon.

Both Netanyahu and Abbas should “try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger, or misunderstanding,” Obama added.

This week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Kerry should resign for not renouncing comments claiming that Israelis are equally capable of terror attacks.

“The Obama Administration is the most hostile we have seen towards the nation of Israel in our nation’s history,” said Cruz, a 2016 contender, in a statement. “In the last few days, this obsessive antagonism has been on full display.