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Kerry Visits Jordan Amid Mounting Regional Tensions

reposted from Israel National News

US Secretary of State to meet with King Abdullah to discuss Jerusalem and regional issues. Meeting follows new Turkish criticism of Israel.

by Cynthia Blank

US Secretary of State, John Kerry will be visiting the Middle East Wednesday under the shadow of escalating tension.

His first stop will be in Jordan to discuss clashes in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount with King Abdullah II, according to a statement the US State Department issued. Kerry with also talk about the political situation in the region and the war against terror organization Islamic State (ISIS).

He is expected to remain in Jordan for two days before continuing on to the United Arab Emirates.

Jordan, in addition to the the Palestinian Authority, and now Turkey, has come out strongly against any sort of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, essentially blaming recent terror attacks in Israel on Jewish provocation.

On Sunday, Jordan's Prime Minister, Abdullah Nsur condemned Israeli action on the Temple Mount calling it "not the result of administrative errors or acts by a few extremists but rather a clear government plan to change the realities at the holy places."

Although he did stress there were no plans to dismantle the 20-year peace treaty between the two countries.

On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu attacked Israel harshly, as well. "Nothing will stop Turkey from defending Jerusalem the Al-Aqsa Mosque," he stated, warning that Israel could suffer an "attack" on the holiest of places.

"Hence, I call again to Israel and its cruel leaders - do not dare to continue attacks on Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Even if all other nations remain silent, the Turkish government will not stand idly by. We will stand firmly against the Israeli soldiers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which belongs to us."

'A devastating religious war'

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also slammed Israel Tuesday with harsh criticism - a continuing trend - during a rally to mark ten years since the death of Yasser Arafat.

He argued that provocative actions in the region could lead the world into a devastating religious war. He called on the Israeli government to "abstain from its provocations", and stressed that Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine.

"We will continue to protect the holy places and leave our people in there," he said. Abbas also made it clear that it is the right of Palestinians not to allow "settlers and IDF soldiers" to defile the holy places.

Also on Tuesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the rising violence in Jerusalem and across the country, stressing that Israel, "will act firmly against escalation and perpetrators of terror."

"We find ourselves facing a wave of incitement and terror which we have faced since the State's establishment," he began his address, continuing on to outline new security measures.

The steps will include "increasing forces in the field throughout Israel," "demolishing terrorists' homes, harsh punishments for rock-throwers, Molotov cocktail and fireworks attacks, fines against the parents of rock-throwers, outlawing the parties behind the terrorism and riots in Jerusalem, etc."


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