US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday warned Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas not to incite violence against Israelis, amid mounting unrest in Jerusalem.
Since the recent spate of violence began the United States has repeatedly urged both sides to show restraint, but Kerry’s remarks were the first aimed explicitly at Abbas.
“There’s no excuse for the violence,” Kerry told NPR News, which released extracts of a radio interview due to air on Friday as the US diplomatic chief flies to Europe.
“No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand,” he argued.
“President Abbas has been committed to non-violence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly,” he said.
“And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heard to encourage. So that has to stop.”
Jerusalem is in the grip of a two-week upsurge in violence that has seen several Israeli civilians stabbed to death and several Palestinians killed by security forces.
Abbas has not openly endorsed the attacks but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused him of inciting violence by calling for protests against Israel.
Kerry said he plans to travel to the region “in the coming days,” amid reports that a meeting could be arranged between Netanyahu and Abbas in Jordan.