JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the Middle East this weekend to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to explore ways to restart stalled peace talks.
This latest visit is Kerry's third trip to the region -- and second to Israel -- in just two weeks.
No one is expecting any breakthroughs during this visit, but his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders represent the Obama administration's most sustained effort yet in the Middle East.
Kerry's trip comes at a difficult time. For the third consecutive day, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired several rockets at southern Israel Thursday. Israel retaliated with air strikes on terror sites in the coastal enclave.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled his patience was wearing thin.
"If the quiet is violated, we will respond strongly," he warned. "The security of Israel's citizens is my chief concern, and we will know how to defend the security of our people."