Secretary of State John Kerry, in press remarks ahead of a Tuesday meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, condemned acts of terror and said Israel “has every right to defend itself.” He also said his prayers and thoughts were with those who had been murdered or wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel and with their families. Kerry mentioned in particular that he had spoken with the family of Erza Schwartz, an 18-year-old American murdered in the West Bank last week.
The secretary said he was meeting with the prime minister to discuss ways “to push back against terrorism” and “senseless violence.”
Kerry’s full remarks:
Thank you. Mr. Prime Minister, Bibi, thank you for welcoming me here. And for me, I am pleased to be back in Jerusalem, pleased to be back in Israel, though I come at a time that, as the prime minister has just said, is very troubling. Clearly, no people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars.
And it is very clear to us that the terrorism – these acts of terrorism which have been taking place – have deserved the condemnation that they are receiving. And today, I expressed my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation. Israel has every right in the world to defend itself and it has an obligation to defend itself, and it will and it is.
Our thoughts and prayers are with innocent people who have been hurt in this process. I know that yesterday, a soldier was killed in the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and those who were wounded, their families. Regrettably, several Americans have also been killed in the course of these past weeks. And just yesterday, I talked to the family of Ezra Schwartz from Massachusetts, a young man who came here out of high school ready to go to college, excited about his future. And yesterday, his family was sitting at Shiva and I talked to them and heard their feelings, the feelings of any parent who lost their child.
So I’m here today to talk with the prime minister about the ways that we can work together – all of us in the international community – to push back against terrorism, to push back against senseless violence, and to find a way forward to restore calm and to begin to provide the opportunities that most reasonable people in every part of the world are seeking for themselves and for their families.