Kerry in first Israel visit since Protective Edge

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to meet at 10 AM Tuesday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is visiting Israel for the first time since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

Kerry and Netanyahu have met several times since the start of the current terror urge in Israel, and Netanyahu heard a clear statement that the US does not expect steps to renew diplomatic contacts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) at this time.

The two men will discuss the war against ISIS but are expected to devote much of the meeting to the current Arab terror wave in Israel.

Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson of the Department of State, said Tuesday in a news briefing that the US does have “some ideas” on how to calm down the situation (starting at 30:00 in video embedded), including putting up surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount, and others, which there is no point in revealing before they come up in the talk between the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State.

“We want to stop the ongoing cycle of violence,” he said, “and reduce the rhetoric.”

Asked if Israel should stop Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, while the PA stops incitement, for the violence to lessen, he responded in the positive but noted that the US “made no link between settlements and the violence; you know what our policy is regarding the settlements.”

Toner spoke of the need for a focused and concentrated effort on both sides to reduce the level of rhetoric, and confidence building measures that will reduce tension. Daily and ongoing violence will only serve to perpetuate the tensions.”

When asked what the US expects from Mahmoud Abbas, Toner replied that he
represents the Palestinian leadership,” and that the US believes that he has influence and authority. “Therefore, we want him to take concrete steps to reduce the tension.”