In the West Bank, Antony Blinken expresses his “sadness” after the death of “innocent Palestinians”
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As part of his visit to the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Ramallah on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank. In particular, he met the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, against the backdrop of a new spiral of deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his “sadness” over the deaths of “innocent Palestinians” in Israeli-Palestinian violence during a meeting on Tuesday (January 31st) with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in the occupied West Bank.
“Allow me to begin by conveying my condolences and expressing my sadness for the deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives in the escalation of violence over the past year,” he told the HQ of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
Israeli-Palestinian violence claimed 235 lives in 2022, nearly 90% Palestinians, according to an AFP count compiled from official Israeli and Palestinian sources. According to the UN, the past year has been the deadliest since 2005 in the West Bank.
Israel has in some cases acknowledged that its forces had mistakenly killed civilians in raids presented as “counter-terrorist”.
“Stop violence” and “reduce tensions”
“Palestinians like Israelis have a growing feeling of insecurity, a growing fear at home, in their communities and in their places of worship”, regretted Antony Blinken in Ramallah. “We believe it is important to take de-escalation measures, to stop violence, to reduce tensions (…)”, he added, warning against any move that jeopardizes the solution to two states, Israeli and Palestinian.
He cited “(Israeli) settlement expansion), legalization of outlaw settlements (unauthorized by the government), demolitions and evictions” as policies of Israeli governments.
Antony Blinken also lamented “a shrinking horizon of hope for the Palestinians. This too, we believe, must change.”
The tour of the head of the American diplomacy, which was planned for a long time, began Sunday in Egypt and ends Tuesday evening. It takes place after several days of violence marked by Palestinian attacks in East Jerusalem which left seven dead and deadly raids by the Israeli army in the West Bank.