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Blinken urges Israel and Palestine to de-escalate tensions


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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Israelis and Palestinians not to escalate tensions amid the recent escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, as he arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to take steps to calm tensions rather than exacerbate them,” a senior US diplomat said after landing at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

Blinken was greeted by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport.

During his two-day stay, Blinken will visit the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian officials.

Blinken is the third high-ranking US official to visit the region since the formation of the current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and CIA Director William Burns.

According to the State Department, Blinken will discuss with Israeli officials continued US support for Israel’s security, particularly against Iranian threats.

The talks will also address Israel’s deep integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of the two-state solution, and a host of other global and regional issues.

In the West Bank, Blinken will meet with Palestinian President Abbas and senior officials to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations, political reforms, and strengthening US relations with the Palestinians.

At least seven Israelis were killed in a shooting attack near a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday night, a day after nine Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

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