U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finally told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cease inciting violence after weeks of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, the Times of Israel reports.
Since the recent violence started, American officials have consistently called for both sides to show restraint even though Palestinian terrorists conducted the overwhelming majority of attacks against Israeli civilians.
"President Abbas has been committed to non-violence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly...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," Kerry told National Public Radio.
Meanwhile, Fatah's military wing – under Mahmoud Abbas' control – called for more terrorist attacks against Israelis on its Twitter account on Friday, the Jerusalem Post reports.
On Friday, a group of Palestinians set fire to the compound hosting Joseph's Tomb – a Jewish holy site – in Nablus. Whereas Palestinian provocative allegations of an Israeli planned takeover of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem proved unfounded, sparking a wave of violence throughout the country, Palestinians actually attempted to fully destroy a Jewish biblical landmark.
Kerry's warning to Abbas comes as State Department spokesman John Kirby walking back comments that blamed Israel for the latest escalation in violence. Kirby's initial statement suggested that Israel violated the status quo on the Temple Mount – a baseless accusation that Palestinian leaders initially fabricated in order to justify inciting violence against Israelis.
"Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence," said Kirby on Wednesday, a statement that was retracted the following day.
Kerry's warning also comes after Abbas was caught propagating a lie that Israel was "executing our children in cold blood" after young Palestinians were shot after attacking Israelis.
As Palestinian incitement grows and Hamas called for a "day of rage," daily Palestinian terrorist attacks continue. A Palestinian disguised as a journalist – wearing a "press" flak jacket and holding a camera - stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier near Hebron.
Meanwhile, reports claim that Palestinian Authority security personnel arrested 19 Hamas members in the West Bank who were plotting a new wave of stabbing attacks. Israelis authorities confirmed that Palestinian security forces are undertaking great efforts to reduce tensions in the West Bank as their political leaders continue to incite violence. This contradictory reality contributes to Israel's pressing dilemma with respect to ongoing security coordination and diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority.