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Israeli and Palestinian officials meet in Jordan to discuss the escalation of violence

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High-level Palestinian and Israeli delegations met in Jordan on Sunday in a “political-security” meeting aimed at restoring calm after the recent escalation of violence.

The delegations met in an effort to defuse escalating tensions ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

Israel said the national security adviser to the prime minister and the head of the Shin Bet security service would attend. It is expected that the head of Palestinian intelligence and advisors to President Mahmoud Abbas will join.

The presence of senior officials at the meeting, as well as delegations from Egypt, Jordan and the United States, confirmed the severity of the crisis. It was also a rare high-level meeting between the two sides, which came at a time of heightened tensions and after the Palestinians cut off security coordination with Israel over the violence.

Abbas’s office said the Palestinians would “emphasize the need to stop all unilateral Israeli measures”. An Israeli official said the meeting was aimed at easing tensions before Ramadan and came at the request of the United States.

A Palestinian official confirmed the Palestinians’ attendance at the meeting. A Jordanian official also said that the meeting aims to stop “unilateral Israeli measures”, build confidence, and carry out more comprehensive contacts between the two sides. He said that the meeting will be held in the city of Aqaba, overlooking the Red Sea in Jordan.

The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting with the media.

The Palestinians, who oppose any official contact with Israel, said they would protest the meeting, while Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, criticized the meeting.

It is not clear what the talks can achieve. Israel has vowed to continue fighting militants in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority often has no control.

Israel also leads an extreme right-wing government with members who oppose concessions to the Palestinians and favor building settlements on occupied lands that the Palestinians claim for their future state.

Last week, Israeli officials delivered more than 7,000 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, according to activist groups who attended the planning meeting.

Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has escalated since Israel intensified its raids on West Bank cities, towns and villages following a series of Palestinian attacks last spring.

The bloodshed has escalated this year, with more than 60 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an Associated Press tally. Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 11 people.

Israel says the raids aim to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks. The Palestinians say it is further entrenching Israel’s 55-year occupation of territory they want for a future state, as well as undermining their security forces.

This year Ramadan coincides with the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover, and worshipers of both faiths are expected to flock to holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is often a flashpoint for violence between the two sides.

Clashes broke out at a major holy site in Jerusalem last year and tensions at the site helped spark an 11-day war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in 2021.

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