Israel's opposition leader on Tuesday warned that a new Palestinian uprising could be brewing, saying both sides should work together to contain a recent spate of violence and resume peace talks.
Isaac Herzog, leader of Israel's Zionist Union, issued his call after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his West Bank headquarters. It was a rare face-to-face encounter between Abbas and a high-level Israeli visitor.
The meeting came at a time of rising violence. On Tuesday, hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of a man who was killed by Israeli forces a day earlier after stabbing an Israeli policeman.
Tensions have been high since a July firebombing attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the West Bank last month killed an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler and his father. Since then, there have been a series of Palestinian stabbings and a firebombing on Israelis, and three suspected attackers shot dead.
Addressing reporters in Ramallah, Herzog said he and Abbas held an "in-depth" discussion that lasted more than an hour.
He said both men agreed on the need to calm the deteriorating situation and prevent a new intifada, or Palestinian uprising, from breaking out.
“We first and foremost must prevent a third intifada and we have agreed that in order to prevent a third intifada we must combat terror on the one hand aggressively, and on the other hand move toward a diplomatic process,” he said.
Israel and the Palestinians have held on-again, off-again peace talks over the past two decades but have never managed to agree on a final deal. The most recent round of talks, brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, broke down more than a year ago and show no signs of restarting.
“We must ignite the process yet again and give it another effort,” Herzog said.
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