Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to meet Washington's top diplomat to discuss the upsurge in violence in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, his spokesman told AFP on Wednesday.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to meet Washington’s top diplomat to discuss the upsurge in violence in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, his spokesman told AFP on Wednesday.
The meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry will take place in the Jordanian capital at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT) on Thursday, Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
Kerry was due to arrive in Jordan later on Wednesday and have a private dinner with King Abdullah II, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, at which the two men will discuss the simmering tensions in annexed east Jerusalem and other regional issues.
She confirmed Kerry was to also meet with Abbas, saying it was “the most likely option” that their talks would be on Thursday.
So far no meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been scheduled although Kerry speaks with him “probably almost every day and he’ll continue to do that.”
Kerry’s arrival comes as Israel struggles to contain a wave of unrest which has gripped east Jerusalem for the past four months and has spread to the occupied West Bank as well as to Arab towns in Israel, prompting fears of a new Palestinian uprising.
Much of the tension has been focused on Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a site holy to Muslims and Jews, which has seen numerous clashes sparked by Palestinian fears that Israel is preparing to legislate changes to the status quo to allow Jewish prayer there.
“The Palestinian position will be made crystal clear: the Israeli violations are a red line and cannot be tolerated — especially with the tension and Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem,” Abu Rudeina said.
Clashes at the mosque compound have drawn sharp criticism from both the Palestinians and Jordan, which has custodial rights at the shrine. Israel has repeatedly pledged it has no plans to alter the decades-old status quo.
Abbas will also tell Kerry that the Palestinians will not be deterred from plans to present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council this month, seeking to set an end date for Israeli occupation, he said.
“President Abbas will also affirm… that the Palestinian side is going to the Security Council this month to call for an end date for Israeli occupation because the situation has become explosive and it cannot wait,” he said.
Kerry had also been scheduled to go to the United Arab Emirates, but that visit has been canceled, Psaki said without elaborating.