Kerry stresses ending incitement in call with Abbas


WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a call with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stressed the need to end incitement.

“They discussed concerns about the ‎situation on the ground, including the ongoing violence,” a State Department spokeswoman told JTA, describing the conversation this weekend. “The secretary stressed the importance of stopping incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.”

Israeli leaders have faulted what they say are inflammatory statements by Palestinian leaders and in Palestinian media for a four-month spate of stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings.

Abbas and other Palestinian officials say they are urging restraint and have accused Israel of overreacting.

Kerry praised Abbas for a Jan. 19 speech marking the Armenian Orthodox Christmas, in which the Palestinian leader condemned “spilling the blood of any human being, regardless of the gender, race or religion.”

Kerry “expressed appreciation for President Abbas’ comments in Bethlehem in which he reiterated his commitment to nonviolence,” the spokeswoman said.

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