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Blinken Urges Israeli-Palestinian Calm, Renews US Push for Two-State Solution


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Jan. 31, 2023.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttled Tuesday between Israel and the West Bank, imploring both sides to defuse recent violence and work toward the long-held but elusive U.S. goal of creating a two-state solution.

Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah after earlier meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, whom he assured that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security “remains ironclad.” Blinken promised $50 million in new economic assistance to Palestinians over the next two years, on top of $890 million already pledged, and 4G high-speed telecom service in the West Bank.

Blinken: US-Israel Ties Strong, but Two-State Solution with Palestinians Needed
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Blinken’s talks came after some of the worst viole nce in several years, in which 35 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops and seven civilians were shot dead by a Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem outside a synagogue last Friday.

Blinken told Abbas that he appreciates “your consistent and resolute stance against terrorism.”

In his remarks, Abbas said Palestinians “affirm that the Israeli government is responsible for what’s happening these days because of its practices that undermine the two-state solution and already signed agreements.” The Palestinian leader called on the United States and the international community to “provide international protection to our people.”

Amid rising anger at near-daily raids by Israeli forces in the West Bank, Abbas' Palestinian Authority last week scaled back its security cooperation agreement with Israel after the largest incursion in years.

The operation saw Israeli forces go deep into a refugee camp in the northern city of Jenin, setting off a gunfight in which 10 Palestinians were killed.

Back in Jerusalem after meeting with Abbas, Blinken said the U.S. had “no illusion” about immediate peace.

He said the warring Israelis and Palestinians must remain “focused on de-escalating violence” to defuse tensions, to make sure neither side “adds fuel to the fire.”

“Fundamentally, it’s up to them, that they have to work together to foster a greater sense of security,” Blinken said.

Blinken said Monday after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States remains committed to “Palestinians and Israelis enjoying equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, justice, and dignity.”

“We want to make sure that there’s an environment in which we can, I hope, at some point create the conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, which of course is sorely lacking,” Blinken said.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.