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As violence rages in Middle East, Kerry holds talks with Netanyahu in Berlin

The US Secretary of State has met Israel's prime minister to discuss the ongoing conflicts across the Middle East. The talks come as leaders the world over urge an end to the violence in Israel and the West Bank.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday, as leaders across the globe push for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs in the war-torn region.

"It is absolutely critical to end all incitement, to end all violence and to find a road forward to build the possibility, which is not there today, for a larger process," Kerry told reporters.

Netanyahu, sitting beside Kerry, was more forceful, reiterating claims that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was largely responsible for the wave of violence that has rocked Israel and the Palestinian Territories since early October.

"There is no question this wave of attacks is driven directly by incitement - incitement by Hamas, incitement from the Islamist movement in Israel and incitement, I am sorry to say, from President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority," the prime minister said.

Incitement on both sides

On Wednesday, Netanyahu himself had to ward off accusations of incitement after delivering a speech in which he suggested a Palestinian leader had given Hitler the idea for the Holocaust.

The subsequent backlash - not only from Israeli historians and politicians but also from the German government - forced Netanyahu to issue a response shortly before he departed for Berlin.

Upon arriving, Netanyahu

met with Chancellor Angela Merkel,

who acknowledged the controversial remarks by reiterating that Germany was responsible for the Holocaust. She criticized Israel's settlements on Palestinian land while also urging Palestinians to condemn the terrorist attacks targeting Israelis.

No end in sight

The violence has continued in Israel, meanwhile, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon paid a surprise visit to the Middle East in an effort to help quell the violence.

In the latest spate of killings, one Israeli was wounded on Thursday after being attacked by two Palestinians with knives. That same day, a Jewish man was shot by an Israeli soldier, who mistakenly believed the man was a "terrorist."

Since the beginning of October, at least 49 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed in the violence.

blc/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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