Top US diplomat will join in high-level talks to ease violence, tensions over holy sites

Jordan's king and Israel's prime minister are planning to meet Thursday to discuss how to ease tensions in Jerusalem.

The State Department said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was also to participate in the evening talks between Jordanian King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The pair is meeting in the Jordanian capital.

Heightened tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted over a holy hilltop complex in Jerusalem that is revered by both Muslims and Jews.

Additionally, Israel is pushing ahead with construction of new settlements in a Jewish area of eastern Jerusalem — the part of the city that Palestinians claim as their capital.

The U.S. says it is concerned by the new settlements, which all but certainly will scuttle prospects of re-opening peace talks any time soon.