US officials say Kerry sought clarification about status quo on Temple Mount in meetings with PM in Germany; ahead of meeting, Netanyahu slams Abbas, asking ‘why is he and the Palestinian Authority glorify mufti of Jerusalem’ who supported the Final Solution during WWII.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed a “cautious measure of optimism” after a for-hour meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday about proposals that could help defuse the deadly wave of recent violence in Israel.
Kerry, his voice hoarse after an overnight flight and the lengthy talks, told reporters that he planned to raise the proposals with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah in meeting Saturday in Jordan’s capital, Amman.
“I come directly from several hours of conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu and I would characterize that conversation as one that gave me a cautious measure of optimism that there may be some things that may be in the next couple of days put on the table which would have an impact — I hope,” Kerry said.
“I don’t want to be excessive in stating that, but I am cautiously encouraged.”
A senior official traveling with Kerry said ahead of the meeting that the secretary would use the Germany talks to try to “change the tone of the public discourse” between Israel and the Palestinians and clarify the status of the Temple Mount, the holy site at the center of the tensions.
Kerry, who will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday in Jordan, has said he wants clarity about the status quo about the site, but officials say he doesn’t believe that needs to be in writing.