WASHINGTON -- A "massive increase in settlements" built by Israel in recent years has led to the "frustration" and "violence" now stoking its decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at Harvard University on Tuesday night.
In his most extensive comments yet on the terror wave
– which has claimed the lives of dozens in the last two weeks– Kerry said a permanent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was becoming increasingly elusive, thus aggravating tensions on the ground.
"What's happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody," Kerry said. "And there's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing."
He therefore plans on traveling to the region, he added. Without announcing a date, the secretary said he would visit "as appropriate" in the near future.
"We're working on trying to calm things down," Kerry added. He held phone calls with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend.
Twin attacks in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning took the lives of three Israelis, and wounded over 20 others. Three Palestinians were also killed in clashes throughout the day.
Since October 1, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens more have been injured in 26 separate attacks across Israel and the Palestinian territories. According to Palestinian reports, 27 Palestinians– including nine alleged attackers– have also died.
The White House and State Department condemned the killings on Tuesday and both called for a restoration of calm.