US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for calm after days of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
Blinken met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. He is due to meet with Palestinian leaders for his final stop on a Middle East tour that comes at a critical time, with Israel and Palestine reeling from a round of devastating attacks that threaten an explosion of violence.
In a news conference after his meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken repeated calls for calm, and reaffirmed that the US believes that the dormant peace process aimed at a two-state solution is the “only path forward”.
Last Friday, there was a shooting outside a Jerusalem synagogue that killed seven people, making it the worst attack in years. Ten people were killed in the single deadliest Israeli army raid in the West Bank in decades.
At least 22 people have been killed in the past week, with dozens of copycat and “price tag” or retaliatory attacks targeting Israelis and Palestinians over the last few days, including shootings and the burning of cars and property.
Every violent episode has the potential to spark a wider conflagration. Efforts to calm the tense security situation have dominated Blinken’s long-planned three-day Middle East trip.
Blinken reiterated to the Israeli people America’s commitment to their security.
He said that “anything that moves us away from a two-state solution is detrimental to Israel’s long-term security”.
Blinken also urged Israel’s new far-right government to ensure it has broad public support for its wide-reaching agenda, which includes overhauling the country’s judicial system – a move that has been met with major demonstrations in Israeli cities. Israel’s new government is the most far-right it has been.
Blinken traveled on Tuesday to the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah for discussions with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh.
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