Kerry to huddle with Netanyahu, Abbas this week

Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Europe and the Middle East starting on Wednesday, and is expecting to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders amid rising violence that has claimed several dozen lives.

The State Department said Kerry's trip would run from Wednesday through Sunday, and would give him chances to discuss violence in Israel, the civil war in Syria, Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine, and the Islamic State.

State didn't announce Kerry's exact timetable, but spokesman John Kirby said Kerry's trip would be used to meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"He expects to be able to meet on this trip with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he expects to meet with President Abbas, he expects to meet with [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov, and he's also looking forward to a session with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and Jordan as well," Kirby said.

Kerry said last week that he was planning a visit to the Middle East to help "calm things down." But Kerry and his department have angered many in Israel for implying that Israel has been too violent in its handling of Palestinian attacks against Jews.