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Obama: Important to give hope to Israelis and Palestinians
US Secretary of State Kerry says settlement building does not help situation, hours after a terror attack in the West Bank.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that it is important to give both Israelis and Palestinians hope, as violence continues to wrack the region.

 

 

“The situation in Israel and the West Bank, the increasing tensions that exist between Israelis and Palestinians there — His majesty has been a critical component of reducing some of the immediate sources of tension around the Temple Mount and visits there, but we continue to agree that it’s important for us to provide both sides a sense of possibility and hope and not simply despair,” Obama said during a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II.

 

 

Obama's comments during meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II

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“That’s hard to do and so we have explored ideas in terms of how we can make progress, but his majesty’s continued to be a voice of reason and moderation and tolerance for all the parties concerned in this issue and we very much appreciate his partnership in the process. So we’re lucky to have a friend like Jordan.”

 

Obama's comments came after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House, where the two leaders said the political process and taking the fight to IS are their top priorities in Syria.

 

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry  that increased Israeli settlement building is not helping to ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

  

Barack Obama and John Kerry (Photo: AP)
Barack Obama and John Kerry (Photo: AP)

 

"I don't think that the situation is helped by additional settlement construction and building," Kerry told a House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee at a hearing on the State Department's annual budget request.

 

"I think that I know we need to see measures taken on both sides to indicate a readiness and willingness to try to proceed forward and reduce the violence," Kerry said, when asked about heightened violence.

 

Kerry also said he spoke to Russia's foreign minister on Wednesday and that their teams would meet soon to discuss plans for a planned 'cessation of hostilities' due to go into effect in Syria on Saturday.

 

"I talked this morning - the reason I am late - I was talking with Foreign Minister (Sergei) Lavrov and we have a team that will be meeting in the next day or so, the task force for the ceasefire, cessation of hostilities," Kerry told lawmakers. "I am not here to vouch that it's absolutely going to work ... Everybody has said you've got to have a diplomatic solution at some point in time. The question will be, is it (ripe)? Will Russia work in good faith, will Iran work in good faith to try to bring about the political transition?"

 

Kerry warned Israel in December about the dangers of the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, saying it would lead to a situation that would threaten the security of Israel and the Palestinian people.

 

Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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