Lapid at the meeting Thursday
Lapid at the meeting Thursday David Azgori/US Embassy in Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met Thursady afternoon with a State Department delegation visiting Israel.

Participating in the meeting were Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli & Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides.

Participating from the Israeli side were Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz and Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East & Peace Process Division, Oded Joseph.

The two sides discussed the recent Arab riots on the Temple Mount, and Israeli efforts to quell the surge in violence during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“The State of Israel is dealing with extremist Islamist terror whose entire goal is to sow violence, fear, and chaos,” Lapid said after the meeting. “We call on all leaders in the region to act and speak responsibly in order to calm the situation. Israel is preserving and will continue to preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount and we have no intention of changing it whatsoever.”

“We will not accept in any situation, rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on the State of Israel. Hamas and the entire world must know that Israel will act and will do everything necessary to defend the security of its citizens.”

Lapid blamed the Hamas terrorist organization and Arab rioters for the clashes on the Temple Mount, accusing the rioters of desecrating the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“We are acting only in order to prevent violence and to enable prayer to continue as normal. This is Israel’s policy, and there is no other.”

Lapid expressed his appreciation to the U.S. for its efforts to calm tensions in the region.