In Israel, New York City mayor calls for end to violence

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2015 1:17 PM
In Israel, New York City mayor calls for end to violence

JERUSALEM (AP) — The mayor of New York City called on Sunday for an end to attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, as a monthlong outburst of violence continued.

Bill de Blasio is on a three-day trip to Israel, which he has framed as a solidarity mission with the country roiled by unrest. He made the remarks during a visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.

"People are struggling because of the violence," de Blasio said, describing the attacks on civilians as "unconscionable and unacceptable according to all our values and it is something that must end."

De Blasio's visit comes during a monthlong wave of unrest that has left eight Israelis dead in stabbing and shooting attacks. Some 40 Palestinians have died, nearly half of them identified by Israel as attackers and others in clashes with Israeli forces.

A trip to Israel is a staple for New York City mayors, who represent a large Jewish constituency. This is de Blasio's first visit as mayor, his fourth overall and he is set to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Sunday.

On Saturday, de Blasio met the mayors of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the city at the center of the recent violence. He also met Israeli stabbing victims at a hospital as well as children studying at a mixed Israeli-Palestinian school. He departs Sunday.

Aides said de Blasio considered a trip to the West Bank, but it was scuttled because of security concerns. He was not scheduled to meet with any Palestinian leaders.

The current round of Israeli-Palestinian unrest began last month with clashes at Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site and quickly spread across Israel and into the West Bank and Gaza.

A series of attacks, mostly stabbings, have unnerved Israel, which has responded by beefing up security nationwide and imposing checkpoints in Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Palestinians say the unrest is the result of years of occupation and failed hopes for gaining independence.