US President Barack Obama expressed concern Friday about the outbreak of violence centered in occupied Jerusalem, and called on the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to tamp down inflammatory rhetoric.
Obama’s statement comes amid mounting clashes in occupied Palestinian territories that have raised US fears of a new full-scale Intifada (uprising).
“We are very concerned about the outbreak of violence,” Obama said at a news conference with visiting South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.
“We believe that it’s important for both Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu and Israeli elected officials, and [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas and other people in positions of power, to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger or misunderstanding,” he said.
Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry, in Milan as part of a European tour, called Netanyahu on Friday to discuss “how best to end the recent wave of violence, and to offer US support for efforts to restore calm as soon as possible,” a State Department official said.
On Thursday Kerry called Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and “reiterated the importance of avoiding further violence and preventing inflammatory rhetoric, accusations and actions that will increase tensions,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Kerry also said he “hoped to visit the region at the appropriate moment.”
These statements came as Palestinians called for a “Friday of revolution” against the Israelis, and police barred men under 40 from attending the main weekly prayers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.