AP — Failure to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations could stir unrest in the West Bank, Israel’s top army commander in the territory warned Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, who commands the Israeli military in the West Bank, said Tuesday that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts helped calm the situation in the West Bank.

Kerry has visited the region four times since taking office in February to try to revive negotiations on the terms of Palestinian statehood that broke off in 2008.

Kerry is trying to bridge wide gaps between the two sides on the starting point for negotiations, and it is not clear if he has made progress. Earlier this month, Kerry called his mission the last chance for resuming negotiations.

“The last couple of months of very intensive American involvement also had some positive influence on the ground,” Alon told the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a think tank.

If Kerry’s efforts fail, “I’m afraid we will see the escalation … strengthen,” he said in halting English.

Kerry is expected to return to the region soon, but the dates have not been set.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press