WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration on Monday urged both the Palestinians and the Israelis to exercise restraint as tensions were running high over the treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell made the appeal as the death of a Palestinian inmate in Israeli jail on Saturday and the hunger strike of thousands of prisoners have angered Palestinians and triggered growing violence and protests.
Clashes between the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian protesters dominated the West Bank in recent days, and Israel has voiced concerns over a third possible Intifada, or uprising, in the West Bank.
"We call on Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint as the situation in West Bank remains tense," Ventrell told reporters at a regular news briefing, noting Washington was conveying the message directly to both sides.
"All parties should seriously consider the consequences of their actions, particularly at this very difficult moment," he said. "We urge both Palestinians and Israelis, not only to refrain from provocative actions that could destabilize conditions on the ground, but to consider positive steps to reestablish trust and de- escalate the current tensions."
Autopsy revealed that Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old Palestinian prisoner, died of torture. His death prompted thousands of Palestinian prisoners to go on a hunger strike on Sunday to show solidarity with him.
Hundreds more continued their hunger strike for the second day on Monday, as Palestinians have been protesting for days in support of their fellows in Israeli jails, especially the four prisoners on a hunger strike for months in protest of their administrative detention, under which they could be detained for a long period without trial.
"We understand that the Israeli government is looking carefully into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat's death," Ventrell said. "We expect all parties to consider the results of the autopsy calmly, and without inflammatory rhetoric."
He said Washington has talked about the administrative detention with Israeli officials.
During the last two uprisings in 1987 and 2000, 5,000 Palestinians and 500 Israelis were killed in about 140 attacks.
In his visit to Britain on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his British counterpart William Hague vowed to prioritize the restart of the peace process in the Middle East.