Kerry: 'Back-and-Forth of Language' Causing Violence in Middle East

In Jordan on Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry alleged “back-and-forth” language was causing violence in the Middle East instead of squarely placing the blame on Palestinian incitement.


Appearing with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Amman, Kerry said the United States “strongly condemns the terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.”

“There is absolutely no justification for these reprehensible attacks. And as I have said before, all the violence and the incitement to violence must stop. Leaders must lead, and it is important to stop the back-and-forth of language that gives anybody an excuse to somehow be misinterpreted or misguided into believing that violence becomes a viable option,” he said. “It is not a viable option. Diplomacy and negotiation are the viable road ahead.”

Kerry strongly pushed a two-state solution on his trip to the region, beginning with an earlier meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin.

“Now, I hope that based on these conversations we can finally put to rest some of the false assumptions, perceptions about the Haram al- Sharif/Temple Mount. Those perceptions are stoking the tensions and fueling the violence, and it is important for us to end the provocative rhetoric and to start to change the public narrative that comes out of those false perceptions,” he said.

“The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is obviously important to the peoples of all three monotheistic faiths — Jews, Muslims, and Christians. And I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu has reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to upholding the unchanged status quo of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif both in word and in practice.”


Netanyahu said that evening what he’s been saying all along — the status quo is unchanged, despite Palestinian incitement stating the contrary.

“Israel believes that those who visit or worship on the Temple Mount must be allowed to do so in peace, free from violence, from threats, from intimidation and from provocations. We will continue to ensure access to the Temple Mount for peaceful worshippers and visitors, while maintaining public order and security,” Netanyahu said.

“We welcome increased coordination between the Israeli authorities and the Jordanian Waqf, including to ensure that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area, and all this in accordance with the respective responsibilities of the Israelis authorities and the Jordanian Waqf.”

King Abdullah and Netanyahu agreed to put 24-hour video surveillance on the site.

“This will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency, and that could really be a game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of this holy site,” Kerry said.


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