Kerry calls Abbas, Netanyahu to urge Mideast calm

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to express concern at recent violence and ask them to work to restore calm, an official said Friday.

The move comes amid mounting clashes in Israel and the Palestinian Territories that have raised fears of a full-scale uprising, with an overnight arson attack on a Jewish holy site in the West Bank the latest incident to heighten tensions.

U.S. and Israeli officials said Friday that Netanyahu and Kerry plan to meet in Berlin next week.

Officials were not able to confirm the exact timing of the talks, but Netanyahu already has a scheduled meeting with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner noted that Kerry had previously spoken of a desire to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders about the unrest in the coming days.

“I can confirm that he’s likely to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, probably in Germany, but I would stress that we’re still finalizing the details,” he said.

U.S. officials could not confirm reports Kerry plans to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah as he tries to defuse the crisis.

An Israeli official told AFP that details were being worked out but “Netanyahu and Kerry agreed to try to meet when the prime minister travels to Berlin next week.”

The news broke as Kerry was already on a flight to Europe for planned meetings in Milan, Madrid and Paris.

Kerry had earlier said he hoped to travel to the Middle East region “in the coming days” to cool tempers amid a new spate of violence in Jerusalem.

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