U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take urgent steps to end the current "senseless" violence in Israel and the West Bank.
Speaking to reporters in Madrid on October 19, Kerry said it was vital that Israeli and Palestinian leaders clarify the status around the Al-Aqsa compound and agree on steps that can be taken to calm unrest during talks this week.
The violence was fueled by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over the hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine.
Israel denies the allegations, saying there are no plans to change the status quo and accuses the Palestinians of incitement by spreading the rumors.
Eight Israelis and more than 40 Palestinians, including assailants have been killed in the violence.
Kerry said Israel had a right to protect itself against random acts of violence.
Kerry is expected to meet Netanyahu in Berlin later this week and with Abbas in Jordan over the weekend.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP