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John Kerry: There's No Excuse For Violence Between Israelis And Palestinians


The top U.S. diplomat is carefully watching the latest violence in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Palestinians have been killing Israelis, often stabbing them.


The attackers have been linked to no particular leader or group. Israeli authorities have killed some of the attackers and set up checkpoints in parts of the ancient city. They've also opened fire on Palestinians at the border fence in Gaza.

INSKEEP: Secretary of State John Kerry has been pondering what to make of this violence, and he is also considering what, if anything, to do about it. We discussed this as part of our interview yesterday.


INSKEEP: Do you see what is happening now as the beginnings of a Palestinian uprising? Is that the way to think about this?

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Well, I hope not, and I pray not. And that's the last thing anybody wants, and I think it would be extraordinarily dangerous. And...

INSKEEP: What is the word to describe it then?

KERRY: Well, I don't - I'm not going to find words, and I'm not going to get into the what it is. It's violence, and it's wrong. And, you know, the violence has to end. And Israelis have a bright to defend themselves against any violence that is attacking innocent people with a knife in the old city in Jerusalem or elsewhere. No country should be under siege like that. And the Palestinians need to stop the incitement. They need to stop that kind of activity. But at the same time, there is a need to see the broader conflict here and understand that, you know, there has to be some kind of ultimately negotiated political track that's going to resolve the difference between Palestinians and Israelis that has existed long before Obama came to office, that has been there for years and years. Many presidents, many secretary of states have been caught up in the middle of this struggle. We happen to believe that it is vital now to change the paradigm, and we're going to be engaged in ways that reasonably hope to try to help that happen.

INSKEEP: Do you mean to suggest that the lack of progress in the peace talks is in some way responsible for these latest attacks?

KERRY: No, I'm not - I'm not saying that. I don't want to link anything that caused the violence. There's no excuse for the violence. No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand, and President Abbas has been committed to nonviolence. 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.

INSKEEP: That is Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with us yesterday at Indiana University. Elsewhere in today's program, we question Secretary Kerry on U.S. policy in Syria's war. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.