Violence unabated as Kerry visits, decries Middle East terrorism wave

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A Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a West Bank military checkpoint Tuesday, injuring three members from the Israeli security forces, police said, setting a dark tone for a day in which America’s top diplomat was visiting to plea for peace.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of an afternoon session with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned a wave of Palestinian knife, vehicle and shooting attacks against Israeli security forces and civilian bystanders as “terrorism.”

“These acts of terrorism which have been taking place deserve the condemnation that they are receiving. And today I express my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation,” he said at the start of the meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

In the latest violent incident, the Palestinian motorist sped up and turned toward towards the checkpoint on the northern West Bank, hitting two soldiers and a border policeman, who were also lightly injured, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Other border policemen shot the driver, who was injured, arrested and taken for medical treatment before questioning, she said.

Apart from a July 2014 visit to broker a truce in the Gaza war, Kerry has stayed away from Israel and the West Bank since peace negotiations he oversaw collapsed in April of that year.

Dozens of attacks since early October have prompted the fresh visit, which comes despite the absence of any peace talks.

A senior State Department official told reporters ahead of Kerry’s talks that negotiations would not be on the agenda. Instead, the top US diplomat would try to do what he could to stabilize the situation.

“I’m here to talk about ways we can work together … to push back against terrorism and senseless violence,” Kerry said in Jerusalem, telling Netanyahu Israel had “every right in the world to defend itself.”

Netanyahu said there could be no peace with an “onslaught of terror.”

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