Amid Friday furor, Kerry calls Netanyahu


Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to discuss how best to end the violence that has rattled the Jewish state in recent weeks.

According to a readout from the State Department, Kerry reiterated the United States’ “strong condemnation of terrorist attacks against innocent civilians and support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens.”

On Friday, Israeli security personnel shot and killed a Palestinian man who impersonated a photojournalist in order to stab a soldier near Hebron, West Bank. The 20-year-old Israeli soldier was transferred to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with a stab wound to his upper body.

Joseph’s tomb, a Jewish holy site in the West Bank, was set on fire on Friday. No one was hurt, though there is extensive damage to the tomb’s dome and perimeter fence. Palestinian Authority police and fire brigades extinguished the flames, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency.

Both incidents occurred after Hamas leaders in Gaza called for a “Day of Rage.”

Kerry and Netanyahu discussed plans to meet in Europe “in the near future.” The day prior, Kerry told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he hoped to “visit the region at the appropriate moment.”

Kerry shared “his deep concern over the recent wave of violence and offer[ed] his support for efforts to restore calm as soon as possible” and restated to the Palestinian leader the importance of “avoiding inflammatory rhetoric, accusations and actions” that would increase tensions.

A Palestinian Authority official walked back Abbas’ previous comment that 13-year-old Ahmed Mansara was executed Oct. 12, when in fact, the 13-year-old is recovering in a Jerusalem hospital.  Mansara is accused of stabbing a Jewish-Israeli 13-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in Jerusalem. The Palestinian youth was shot following the attack and is in stable condition, according to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

JTA contributed to this report.

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