Kerry: US backs Israel's 'right to defend its existence'

Comments come after Israeli defense chief accuses US of 'misreading' Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Kerry: US backs Israel's 'right to defend its existence'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. backs Israel's "right to defend its existence" America’s top diplomat said Thursday, as Israeli authorities continue to demolish Palestinian homes.

Saying the U.S. supported Israel's existence in Palestine - which has been occupied by for almost 70 years - Secretary of State John Kerry's speech at Indiana University showed stronger support for Israel than recent U.S. statements.

"We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against innocent civilians," Kerry said without blaming either side for the violence. "There is absolutely no justification for these reprehensible attacks."

Kerry's comments ahead of a Mideast visit next week came after the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accused the U.S. of “misreading” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The State Department said Wednesday that Israel used “excessive” force in handling recent clashes in East Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians. The comments drew criticism from the Israeli government.  

But in recent weeks, the U.S. has described attacks by Palestinians as “acts of terrorism” but refrained from characterizing Israeli violence in the same manner.

Clashes continue in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, where this month alone more than 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces and 1,700 others injured.

As tensions continue around Jerusalem’s revered Al-Aqsa Mosque and anger about the killing of a Palestinian baby in July, the situation grew more tense Tuesday after Israel announced new punitive measures against Palestinians who attack Israelis, including sealing “centers of friction and incitement” and the revocation of permanent residency rights of “terrorists” and confiscation of their property.

Four Israelis and 14 Palestinians have been killed in public stabbings and widespread clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces in the past week.

Violence in the volatile region again flared last week when Israel banned Palestinian men younger than 50 years of age from entering Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third holiest site.

Many Palestinians are also angered that no arrests have been made after Israeli settlers burned to death 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and his parents in the West Bank town of Duma in July.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Ekim 2015, 09:14