US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York.
(photo credit: STATE DEPARTMENT)
WASHINGTON -- Expressing "deep concern" after a week of bloodshed for Israelis and Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaders of both peoples on Saturday, offering any support he could provide to restore calm.
But no specifics were outlined in a readout of those calls, as the tempo of disorganized attacks continued to increase over the weekend.
In his call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier reminded Kerry of the importance of condemning "wild incitement" to violence from Palestinian leaders, according to his office. Kerry echoed that message in a statement later in the afternoon.
"He reiterated the importance of strongly condemning violence and combating incitement, and taking affirmative steps to reduce tensions," the State Department said in a statement. "He again stressed the importance of upholding the status quo in word and deed at the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount and of preventing inflammatory rhetoric and actions that will increase tensions."
Netanyahu denies claims he seeks to change the status quo on the holy site, where Jews are not allowed to formally pray.Thirteen stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians have occurred
in the past four days alone, and several rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Saturday night. Several clashes on the borders with Gaza and the West Bank have also led to Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces.
In his calls with both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry offered his support "for efforts to restore calm as soon as possible," the State Department said.
The stabbing spree has been characterized as terrorism by the US government.