US urges Israelis and Palestinians to keep calm

The United States urged both Israelis and Palestinians to take appropriate measures to prevent a further escalation of conflict between the two sides.

"Both sides have responsibilities," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a news briefing.

"On the Palestinian side, that responsibility is to act to stop any terrorism, to act to dismantle terrorist networks," McCormack stressed.

"On the Israeli side, you're familiar with our message to them, and that is that they take steps to ease the daily plight of the Palestinian people as well as to, again, take into account the effect of their actions upon what all share as the ultimate goal of bringing peace and stability to the region," he proceeded.

McCormack made the remarks after the cancellation of a summit between Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, against the backdrop of the bomb and rocket assaults.

Abbas and Sharon was originally due to have talks on October 2, their first encounter since Israel completed its pullout from Gaza on Sept. 12.

Israel threatened on Wednesday to turn unilateral disengagement into government policy, including annexation of West Bank territory and withdrawal to what the Jewish state would set as its permanent border if the diplomatic deadlock with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) continues.

The fresh tension has dealt a blow to an almost eight-month-old truce between the Palestinians and Israel, Xinhua reports.

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