Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: Blinken met with Netanyahu and called for “urgent measures to restore calm”

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and called for measures to ‘restore calm’ after several days of violence in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank that left more than twenty dead.

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“We now urge all parties to take urgent steps to restore calm and a de-escalation,” he said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding he wishes “restore a feeling of security for Israelis and Palestinians.

Blinken’s arrival in Israel comes against the backdrop of an escalation of violence following months of Israeli raids on the West Bank, launched after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the spring of 2022 in which 19 people died.

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On Monday, shortly before Blinken’s arrival, the Palestinian health ministry reported that Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in the critical point of Hebron city. bringing the number of Palestinians killed in January to 35.

Blinken also addressed the need to maintain cooperation with Israel in dealing with Iran and urged the deepening and expansion of Israel’s ties with Arab countries in the region, after the normalization of relations with UAE, Bahrain and Morocco.

“These efforts are not a substitute for progress between Israelis and Palestinians,” he clarified, and urged “to find measures to improve the daily life of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza” in order to “achieve the goal that Palestinians and Palestinian Israelis have equal conditions of freedom, security, opportunity, justice and dignity”.

On the other hand, Blinken explored the shared democratic principles on which the relationship between the two countries is based, perhaps alluding to the controversial judicial reform promoted by the new Israeli government, which aims to undermine the independence of the judiciary and sparked a strong protest movement in the Jewish state.

On this issue, Netanyahu said that the United States and Israel “are two democracies” and stressed that “they will continue to be two solid democracies”.

The Israeli president did not make direct references to the escalation of violence in recent days with the Palestinians, but said progress in relations with the Arab countries of the region “it will help to reach a viable solution with our Palestinian neighbours“.

More violence after Netanyahu’s return to power

Violence escalated in the first weeks of Netanyahu’s new far-right government, which has he promised to take a tough stand against the Palestinians and increase the construction of settlements.

The latest wave of violence erupted last week with an Israeli military incursion into a stronghold in the West Bank city of Jenin. in which 10 people diedmostly militants, followed by the shooting attack on a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem that left seven Israelis dead.

Blinken’s trip follows visits to Israel by President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and CIA Director Willian Burns. But the Blinken meetings will mark the highest level of US engagement with Netanyahu since he took power last month and the first from the increase in violence.

Source: AFP, AP and EFE

Source: Clarin

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